Judge Halts State Move To Reduce Eligibility for Adult Day Health Care
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong issued a preliminary injunction blocking scheduled eligibility cuts for California's adult day health care program, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Armstrong said the cuts would have ended services for 8,000 to 15,000 people, or between 20% and 40% of the program's beneficiaries (Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, 2/25).
The eligibility restrictions were scheduled to take effect March 1.
Lawmakers expected the change to reduce state spending by about $12.2 million.
This week's injunction marks the second time in recent months that a federal judge has blocked cuts to the state's adult day health care program. Last September, Armstrong issued an injunction blocking a plan to reduce services for the program from five days per week to three (Ferriss, Sacramento Bee, 2/25).
Reasons for Injunction
In explaining Wednesday's injunction, Armstrong wrote that state officials made "no attempt to explain how these changes are linked to the individual's circumstances, particular need for (day care) services or their risk of institutionalization" (San Francisco Chronicle, 2/25).
Elizabeth Zirker, an attorney for Disability Rights California, said federal protections require states to strive to avoid unnecessary institutionalizations.
State Finance Department spokesperson H.D. Palmer said lawmakers have proposed cutting the adult day health care program altogether because of such repeated injunctions.
Next StepA trial on the lawsuit is not set until September 2011, according to Zirker (Sacramento Bee, 2/25). 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.