State Spending Cuts Push Downsizing at Veterans Home in Chula Vista
A state-operated nursing home for veterans in Chula Vista will be forced to reduce its patient load and cut staff as a result of spending cuts proposed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) in an effort to rein in California's budget deficit, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The governor has proposed 10% across-the-board spending cuts to reduce an estimated $14 billion shortfall.
Jane Bergman, interim administrator of the Veterans Home of California-Chula Vista, said that to reduce spending, the facility will cut the number of patients it treats from 359 to 300. The reduced capacity will be phased in through attrition of home residents, Bergman said.
The downsizing, along with cuts in staffing, is expected to achieve most of the savings, according to the Union-Tribune.
Lt. Gov. John Garamendi (D), who was informed of the downsizing plan during a visit to the facility last week, said he also is worried that expected funding cuts for Medi-Cal might complicate operational challenges at the facility. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
However, J.P. Tremblay, deputy secretary of communications for the Department of Veterans Affairs, said Medi-Cal funds comprise less than 1% of the facility's $28 million annual budget.
Tremblay added that state officials "want to make sure the care (patients) are getting isn't going to suffer" as a result of the expected spending cuts (Liewer, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/26).