Gov. Jerry Brown (D) is defending his veto of a bill (AB 96) that would have set up an alternative to the adult day health care program that lost funding in this year's state budget, the Los Angeles Times' "L.A. Now" reports (Zavis/LaGanga, "L.A. Now," Los Angeles Times, 7/26).
The 300 ADHC centers provide health care, physical therapy, counseling, socialization and other services for about 37,000 elderly individuals and residents with disabilities.
The state paid $169 million annually for the program (California Healthline, 7/26).
Brown said California lacks the funds to continue providing the services it offered in the past.
He said ADHC services would remain available to Medi-Cal beneficiaries through managed care programs. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
According to Brown, his office is seeking to transition ADHC beneficiaries to other home and community-based services ("L.A. Now," Los Angeles Times, 7/26).
Norman Williams -- deputy director of public affairs for the Department of Health Care Services -- said the department is working with several agencies to determine alternative ways to care for ADHC beneficiaries (Smith, Los Angeles Daily News, 7/26).
In addition, state officials noted that Brown approved a separate measure (SB 91) to let ADHC centers continue to operate if they can secure funding outside of Medi-Cal (Kisken, Ventura County Star, 7/26). The centers could continue to operate without Medi-Cal licensure for beneficiaries who pay out of pocket or who have private insurance.
Advocates Weigh In
Lydia Missaelides -- executive director of the California Association for Adult Day Services -- said that most ADHC beneficiaries have Medi-Cal coverage and that up to 95% of the centers would close without Medi-Cal participation ("L.A. Now," Los Angeles Times, 7/26).
In addition, advocates for ADHC services say Brown's veto could lead elderly residents to seek services in hospital emergency departments, mental health facilities and nursing homes.
They add that operators of closing ADHC centers are having trouble locating replacement services (Jewett, California Watch, 7/27).
Nina Nolcox -- who administers an ADHC center in South Los Angeles -- said that even if the state funds ADHC alternatives, such programs would not offer the combination of health care and social services provided by ADHC centers ("L.A. Now," Los Angeles Times, 7/26).
Pending Court Hearing
Meanwhile, a court hearing on a challenge to halt the termination of the ADHC program has been rescheduled for Nov. 1. The hearing originally was slated for this week (Ventura County Star, 7/26).