Advocates Protest Plans To Cut Adult Day Health Care, Prenatal Services
Although the budget put forth by Democratic legislators would preserve California's adult day health care programs at lower funding levels, advocates say the Democrats' proposal still would trigger service reductions and layoffs, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has proposed eliminating the adult day program entirely, which would reduce state spending by $170.5 million.
The program currently serves more than 37,000 clients at 330 centers. Most of the program's clients are beneficiaries of Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program.
Adult day health care providers and advocates say Schwarzenegger's plan would drive more people into nursing homes, thus costing the state more in the long run. The state pays $76 per day to provide services for a client in adult day health care, compared with $5,000 to $8,000 per month for a client in a nursing home.
California also would lose federal matching funds if it eliminates the program.
In comparison, Democratic lawmakers have proposed cutting $26.8 million from the adult day health care program.
Although advocates praised the Democrats' budget plan for preserving the program, they said the spending cuts still could force adult day health care providers to discharge clients and lay off some employees (Hines, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 6/21).
On Monday, Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" reported on a rally of about 100 home care workers and advocates, who urged the governor to preserve the adult day health care program. The segment includes comments from:
- Evan LeVang of Independent Living Services of Northern California; and
- Aaron McClear, Schwarzenegger's press secretary (Shadley, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 6/22).
Prenatal Care Advocates Get in the Mix
Advocacy groups also have spoken out against proposed cuts to California's maternal child and adolescent health programs, which aim to help pregnant women and teenagers avoid cases of low birthweight, premature delivery and other complications.
California's Department of Public Health oversees the prenatal program while county public health departments provide the services.
Under Schwarzenegger's proposal, the program stands to lose more than $20 million in funding.
Jim Lindley, director of San Bernardino County's Department of Public Health, said the governor's proposal would eliminate the "bulk of funding" for the prenatal program and result in a "cutting off of services."
Lindley also noted that most of the program's clients are low-income and have limited access to health insurance or other resources.
Although Democratic legislators rejected Schwarzenegger's $20 million cut, their counterproposal recommends reducing state spending on the prenatal program by more than $8 million.
Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access, said that he is "very disheartened" to see these cuts, adding that the state is jeopardizing preventive services (Hines, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 6/22).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.