Lack of Consensus Over Cost Savings From Cuts to In-Home Health Care
Whether or not California can achieve savings by cutting its in-home health care programs might depend on the number of current beneficiaries who would end up in nursing homes, the Ventura County Star reports.
Advocates See Increasing Costs
Eldercare advocates have criticized Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) for budget proposals that would eliminate adult day health care and shrink the state's In-Home Supportive Services program. The budget also calls for a wholesale elimination of IHSS if Schwarzenegger does not secure new federal funds.
Advocates say the proposed cuts would propel many current beneficiaries into nursing homes, thereby driving up costs for Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program. Medi-Cal's cost forÂ nursing home care is five times higher than what care through IHSS costs.
According to some advocates, higher costs for nursing home and hospital care arising from the IHSS cuts would cost the state about $88 million the next fiscal year.
Analysts See Possible Savings
However, budget analysts cast doubt on the advocates' estimations when they determined that the proposed cuts could generate state savings if most IHSS recipients remained with their families or found other forms of support.
A recent Legislative Analyst's Office report found that California could reduce state spending if fewer than one-third of IHSS beneficiaries ended up in long-term care facilities.
The analysts suggested that the state could best achieve savings by eliminating adult day health care services and restricting IHSS care to only those beneficiaries with the most need.The state Senate Budget Committee began work this week to review the potential impact of the in-home care cuts (Kisken, Ventura County Star, 1/26). 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.