Budget Shortfalls Force States To Cut Back on Home Care Initiatives
At least 25 states and the District of Columbia have cut home-care services for elderly and disabled residents to cope with severe budget shortfalls, the New York Times reports.
Programs affected by the cuts include meal deliveries, housekeeping aid and assistance for family caregivers, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
The cuts threaten to reverse a long-term trend of enabling residents to remain in their homes longer and might cost states more money in the long term if the loss of home care services drives residents into state nursing homes.
Cuts in California
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has proposed cutting adult day health care centers that serve 45,000 state residents -- as well as the In-Home Supportive Services program that assists more than 400,000 elderly, disabled or blind residents -- to help the state cope with a $19.1 billion budget shortfall for the current fiscal year.
The state Legislature has rejected the proposed cuts but has offered no alternative budget.
California already has cut Alzheimer's day health care centers and assistance for caregivers.
Other states also have made cuts, including:
- Arizona, which cut independent living support and respite programs for family caregivers;
- Florida, which placed 69,000 residents on waiting lists for home or community services in 2009, with more than 5,700 applicants ultimately admitted to Medicaid nursing homes;
- Kansas, which plans to cut independent-living services for 2,800 residents in 2011;
- Oregon, which said last week it will cut funding for home aides who assist more than 4,500 low-income residents and might make additional cuts in October; and
- Colorado, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York and Texas, all of which have frozen spending or implemented service cuts, despite expanding elderly populations.