California bill would restore funding for
adult day care centers
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[June 19, 2014]
By Jennifer Chaussee
SACRAMENTO Calif. (Reuters) - California
lawmakers advanced a bill on Wednesday that would restore adult day care
services as a benefit under Medi-Cal, the state's health insurance
program for low-income and disabled residents.
The program, which provides a variety of healthcare and social
services to people with disabilities, was cut during the state's
budget crisis in 2011, but is one of several pieces of the state's
tattered safety net Democrats have been pushing to restore.
“Thousands of frail Californians depend on adult day health care
services every day," said Democratic Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal,
the bill's author. "The multidisciplinary services that they receive
keep them in the community, and out of nursing homes.”
After the service was cut from Medi-Cal three years ago, California
received permission to cover a portion of it with federal Medicaid
funds, which are not normally allowed to be used for adult day care.
Democratic Governor Jerry Brown eliminated funding for the state's
245 Medicaid adult day health care centers in 2011 because of budget
cuts and concerns over fraud.
But access to daytime adult health care in California was mandated
by a U.S. District Court in June of 2011 after a class-action
lawsuit was filed against the state by senior advocates and
healthcare groups. The state settled by agreeing to reinstate parts
of the adult day care program under the alternative waiver program,
which delivers services directly to people in their homes.
The program connects nurses, therapists and social workers with
disabled residents, including seniors. Covered expenses can include
daily medical care, food, physical therapy, daily activities and
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The services currently cost $600 million annually. Half of that is
paid by the federal government.
Lawmakers approved the bill in the Senate health committee on
Wednesday. It passed the Assembly in May.
The bill will next go to the Senate floor, where it will need a
majority vote to make it to the governor's desk.
(Editing by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Peter Cooney)
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