State: DHCS Contempt Motion Won't Delay New Program Launch

by David Gorn

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Attorneys gathered in U.S. District Court yesterday morning to argue whether or not the state Department of Health Care Services should be found in contempt of court for its handling of the adult day health transition.

That argument will wait a week, at least. After meeting two hours yesterday, the two sides agreed to delay court proceedings.

"At this point the parties have been working on a possible solution. We hope to have a decision by next Friday," Disability Rights California attorney Elissa Gershon told the federal magistrate hearing the case.

Disability Rights California filed a lawsuit last fall challenging the DHCS transition plans for eliminating the Adult Day Health Care program as a Medi-Cal benefit. The suit was settled out of court in November. Last week DRC filed a contempt motion claiming the state is not abiding by the rules of the settlement.

The ADHC benefit is scheduled to end tomorrow and the replacement program -- Community Based Adult Services -- is scheduled to start Sunday.

According to DHCS officials, the court proceeding will not affect the launch of the CBAS program.

Approval by CMS "is expected by March 31," according to Norman Williams of DHCS. "This does not affect DHCS' Apr. 1 launch of the Community-Based Adult Services program."

State attorney Douglas Press said he expects to reach a new settlement with DRC within a week.

"In any large agreement with hundreds of moving parts, there will be some disagreement about what those moving parts are and what they mean," Press said. "Notwithstanding the fireworks of a contempt motion, this is standard and we are working it out. We're hopeful for a resolution. And I'm confident we will have a resolution."


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