Centers for Disabled Will Continue To Receive Funds from State for Two Months Despite Budget Impasse
State Comptroller Kathleen Connell's office said yesterday that despite the budget impasse in the Legislature, the state will be able to make payments to the not-for-profit centers that provide care for the disabled, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports (Mendel, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8/23). Lawmakers so far have not reached an agreement on a budget plan, which was due by July 1, for fiscal year 2002-2003 that would offset a $23.6 billion shortfall. As a result, the state has not made payments to the 21 regional centers that oversee care for people with developmental disabilities. Although most of the centers have borrowed from banks to cover two months of operations, the banks are unwilling to lend additional funds. If the facilities do not receive state support, they could close by mid-September, disrupting care for about 170,000 people. Meanwhile, the facilities are notifying families and providers that they cannot cover the cost of care unless the Legislature agrees on a budget (California Healthline, 8/20). However, the state will be able to continue to fund the centers through September and into October. Connell's office said that a provision in legislation passed during a 1998 budget deadlock authorizes funding for the centers (San Diego Union-Tribune, 8/23). Rick Chivaro, chief counsel for the comptroller, said the funding is part of a $1 billion "set-aside," which also covers prescriptions for Medi-Cal beneficiaries and people with AIDS "in the absence of a budget," the Sacramento Bee reports (Hill, Sacramento Bee, 8/23). "Everything looks like it's a go," Chivaro said, adding, "I'm waiting for final word from the Davis administration that they are OK with it" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 8/23). Republicans had proposed an "emergency bill" to cover the funding for the centers, but the idea was rejected by Democrats, who said it would "only prolong the budget stalemate" (Sacramento Bee, 8/23).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.