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Assembly Bill Would Keep Adult Day Program Going

It was a watershed moment for state officials and senior health advocates in March, 2012 when California launched the Community Based Adult Services (CBAS) program, borne of a lawsuit settlement. It was an effort that calmed political waters and dealt with the 35,000 frail and elderly Californians who had been part of the eliminated program for adult day health services.

Yesterday, the Assembly Committee on Health took up the subject again, in the form of AB 518 by Assembly member Mariko Yamada (D-Davis).

The bill would codify the CBAS program, ensuring that it cannot be dropped when state health officials eventually renew the federal waiver that spawned it.

“We need to ensure that future administrations would continue to work with the CBAS program,” Yamada said. “AB 518 seeks to codify the court settlement and would ensure that CBAS become the delivery mode, in statute, of these Medi-Cal benefits.”

The settlement agreement that established the new program expires after 18 months, said Elissa Gershon, attorney for Disability Rights California. Disability Rights filed the lawsuit against the state that ended in a settlement creating CBAS.

“We’ve seen a rocky road over the last two years, and after several attempts to eliminate ADHC … we did reach a settlement,” Gershon said at yesterday’s hearing. “The core part of the settlement is that CBAS would replace ADHC as a Medi-Cal benefit. But CBAS is only required to be offered till August 2014, so codification is the next step to ensure viability of this program.”

The CBAS program includes provisions establishing uniform rates for providers, a requirement that the benefit be included in contracts with managed care plans and forbids enrollment caps, Gershon said.

The Assembly health committee passed the bill on a 10-0 vote. It now goes to the Assembly Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care.

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