Assembly ADHC Hearing Offers All Sides

by David Gorn

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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.

Vladimir Yepishin
Within the three decades ADHC Program develops strong infrastructure, saves its patients’ lives, prevents them from institutionalization, extends for their families’ job opportunities, creates new jobs, supports the local economies, and saves taxpayer money. State’s administration attempts creating a strategy to eliminate ADHC Program and to transit ADHC patients to the other existing community based services preventing these patients from institutionalization. It looks like majority of stakeholders consider that this is impossible and the reason of this change is confusing.
john krikorian
"keeping people with complex medical conditions stable and out of expensive acute care"....is not the issue....its those that seemingly are in fine health...giving the benefit of social entertainment at the expense of taxpayers. we possibly are talking about different individuals and levels of care needed. doubt if fraud has been eliminated? if they can hop on a adhc bus and travel.... who audits the facilities? follow the money trail.....
Wendy Peterson
I am a tax payer who thinks that ADHC as a Medi-Cal benefit is a good use of taxpayer dollars. Not only does it save money by keeping people with complex medical conditions stable and out of expensive acute care; ADHC also treats elderly members of my community with care and compassion, the way I would want to be treated. The fraud perpetrated by for-profit businesses ten years ago has been prosecuted and shut down, and I for one am not willing to condemn tens of thousands of people because of the misdeeds of a few. I think it's time for Governor Brown to show some vision and leadership, and recognize the shortsightedness of eliminating ADHC.
Diane Puckett
While there are many active seniors around town whom you might have observed getting on a bus, the population served in ADHCs is very frail, with diagnoses such as Huntington's chorea, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's and conditions such as quadriplegia. All ADHC participants funded through Medi-Cal go through an extensive process of assessment and verification of their fragile medical status. They are then provided with ADHC because Medi-Cal has confirmed that it is absolutely necessary to prevent nursing home placement, which would be far more costly. It is misleading for the Dept of Health Care Services/Medi-Cal, which has already certified that these individuals have a critical need for ADHC, to now say it's not necessary. The many dedicated ADHCs around the state are trying to make this clear: creating a plan on paper does not mean that alternative services actually exist to meet the needs of 55,000 very at-risk ADHC patients.
john krikorian
Thats great all those that benefit financially...follow the money trail...who will speak on behalf of the tax payers that foot the bill. Self interest individuals and firms. Who is protecting the public from fraud and abuse? The State & Country is going out of business. What are the check and balances. Coming into work...this am saw seniors waiting for their transportation...not one in a wheel chair or with walkers. Happy going to a place for social fun and games...and get fed and medicine at the same time. yoga anyone? Do these folks have to qualify as in hospice...doctors certificate....oh yes...the docs are in the game tooo. Who protects the tax payer....in tough economic times??

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