Advocates: Cuts Could Propel Elderly, Disabled Into Nursing Home Care
Advocates say thousands of elderly and disabled Californians could lose access to services and equipment under cuts that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) outlined in his budget proposal if federal funding does not increase, Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" reports.
The governor's budget plan would eliminate adult day health care services in an effort to reduce state spending by about $100 million. Adult day health centers currently serve about 45,000 Californians with disabilities.
In addition, the governor's budget would end coverage for optional disability benefits such as physical therapy, prosthetics and wheelchairs. Officials say the move would lower state spending by about $40 million (Weiss, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 1/13).
Schwarzenegger's budget also attempts to cut $950 million from the state's In-Home Supportive Services program by restricting IHSS eligibility and reducing the state's contribution to caregivers' wages.
The budget calls for a wholesale elimination of the IHSS program if the governor does not manage to secure new federal funds (California Healthline, 1/11).
Proposals Draw Opposition
Advocates say the proposed cuts would propel more low-income residents into nursing homes, thereby driving up costs for Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program.
Nursing home services cost an average of $55,000 per year, or nearly five times the cost of serving a client through the IHSS program (Creamer, Sacramento Bee, 1/14).Advocates also say the service cuts could lead people to seek more costly care from hospital emergency departments ("KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 1/13). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.