Cuts to Health Care, Social Services Trigger Concerns About Lawsuits
Sacramento County officials are voicing concerns that reduced revenue and resulting budget cuts to health care and social services programs could trigger lawsuits, the Sacramento Bee reports.
California law requires counties to provide health clinics, in-home care for the disabled, food stamps and other social services.Â Money from the state and federal governments accounts for the majority of funding for the programs.Â As a result, potential cuts to social services in California's budget could jeopardize county services if counties do not find other funds to cover the decline in state funding.
Moreover, the cuts come as demand for many county services is increasing.
For example, Medi-Cal enrollment in Sacramento County has increased by 12% from last year, according to Bruce Wagstaff, director of the county Department of Human Assistance.Â
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
In an interview with the Bee before she retired as head of the Countywide Services Agency last month, Penelope Clarke said, "If the state cuts Medi-Cal to the point people can't see a doctor, we will see litigation." She said that budget cuts that lead to long delays to care for Medi-Cal beneficiaries also could result in lawsuits.Wagstaff said his agency still is able to meet the state's 45-day deadline for processing Medi-Cal applications.Â However, he noted that the processing time has increased from the county's average 15 days and could reach 25 days soon (Lewis, Sacramento Bee, 1/22). 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.