HOME HEALTH CARE: Pleasanton Seniors May Lose Services
Homebound seniors living in the Tri-Valley area could lose some home health services next year, the Contra Costa Times reports. For 15 years, the ValleyCare Medical System, a not-for-profit agency operating under the Home Health Services Department, has provided local Medicare beneficiaries with skilled nursing, medication assistance and physical therapy. But with shrinking Medicare reimbursements, the program is caught in the middle of cost-cutting talks. ValleyCare officials are anticipating a "tight fiscal year" next year, with a projected $300,000 loss. ValleyCare's governing board has not yet made a decision. But Dennyece Farrell, director of Home Health Services, said that "any decision on her department's future will come only after serious consideration." Despite the promises that "no decision [will be] made lightly," senior advocates expressed concern, noting that the demand for senior services is on the rise as the area's elderly population continues to grow. Eileen Morley, Pleasanton's community services manager, estimates that the Tri-Valley senior population totals as many as 15,000. She also warned that those seniors who do not receive "essential at-home care could suffer from chronic health problems, nutritional deficiency and isolation." ValleyCare employs 20 home health workers who treat some 1,400 patients each year (Pena, 5/21).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.