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Future Uncertain for Adult Day Health Care Services

The verdict is in, and it looks like almost all proposed health services budget cuts have been approved by the budget subcommittees. The biggest dun came at Medi-Cal’s expense — it was cut by $1.5 billion, primarily from lowering the provider reimbursement rate for Medi-Cal by 10%, and by raising rates for patient co-payments.

The largest elements of the new budget plan also call for $1.2 billion to be axed from CalWorks, primarily by shortening the length of time people can be eligible for it, and shifting $1 billion of Prop. 10 money to Medi-Cal.

But one major piece of the health cuts remains undecided.

The Senate subcommittee approved elimination of the adult day health care program (except for a block grant of $25 million), while the Assembly subcommittee proposed keeping the program.

Even if the program continues, it will still stand to lose about $28 million, based on a  new proposal put forth by California Association for Adult Day Services (CAADS).

“So we go to conference, as predicted,” Lydia Missaelides of CAADS said.

The budget conference committee meets this week. “The door is open,” Assembly member Bob Blumenfield (D-Woodland Hills) said, “but it wont stay that way for long.”

The short timeline is due to the need to pass a budget by the first week of March, so that a money-raising tax-extension initiative can be put on the June ballot — with the hope of avoiding making twice as many of these budget cuts, Blumenfield said.

“In an ideal world, this basket of cuts and taxes is not what I would’ve picked,” Blumenfield said. “But perfect is the enemy of the good. And if we don’t make these cuts, we may lose out on the possibility of revenue, cuts that under most other circumstances, we would find unconscionable.”

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