Assembly ADHC Hearing Offers All Sides

Anyone who has been on vacation since the start of the year and missed Sacramento’s debate over the fate of the adult day health care program gets a chance to hear every part of it, all at once, today.

The Assembly Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care is holding a hearing today on ADHC — its importance to Californians, the reasons for its elimination as a Medi-Cal benefit, the details of transition for about 35,000 ADHC patients and the pending legal decision that could either approve or reject that state transition plan.

Department of Health Care Services Director Toby Douglas will attend the hearing and outline the state’s plan. ADHC advocates will make an appearance, as well, as will a representative of the legal team that is suing the state over its elimination of the ADHC benefit.

The hearing was the idea of Assembly member Mariko Yamada (D-Davis),  chair of the committee. According to Yamada’s office, an official invitation was sent to Diana Dooley, Secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services, and to Governor Jerry Brown (D). Dooley can’t attend, Yamada’s office said, and there’s been no word on an appearance by the governor.

That means it’s likely up to Douglas to be the face of state elimination of the ADHC benefit.

“Director Douglas is looking forward to meeting with legislators, so they can know what the program entails,” according to Norman Williams of the DHCS. “And once people understand the program better, we think they’ll feel more comfortable with the approach we’re taking.”

Last week, the DHCS held a stakeholder hearing of its own, where it presented its transition plan and fielded questions. Many of those questions were angry and pointed, with advocates repeatedly saying they felt shunted aside by the DHCS.

This hearing will be a little different, Yamada’s office said, in that it is not designed to focus only on the state’s transition plan, but will also look at ADHC’s place in state policy, and at the legal battle over ADHC.

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