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Senior Partnership Launches Statewide Ad Campaign Aimed at Reversing Proposed Elimination of Vital Senior Program

February 16, 2011 - Press Release

Governor’s Budget Proposal to Eliminate Adult Day Health Care Program Would Impact over 37,000 Seniors and Disabled Adults

SACRAMENTO, CA The California Senior Partnership, comprised of some of California’s leading senior organizations, today announced the launch of a statewide advertising campaign aimed at calling attention to Governor Jerry Brown’s proposal to eliminate the Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) program.  ADHC is a vital program that serves more than 37,000 medically needy California seniors and disabled adults.  If the legislature approves of the plan, California would be the only state in the nation not to offer some form of ADHC program to assist elderly persons in need of critical medical, rehabilitative and mental health care.

“Californians need to be made aware that the Brown Administration intends to toss tens of thousands of seniors out onto the street or force them into more expensive nursing homes,” said Castulo de la Rocha, President and CEO of AltaMed Health Services, one of California’s leading ADHC providers.  “We have been working hard to ensure lawmakers understand the consequences of this decision.  The governor’s proposal is frankly unacceptable and will end up costing the state more money in the long run.”

According to the Governor’s budget proposal, elimination of the ADHC program would save the state about $177 million.  However, the governor’s budget proposal grossly undercounts the number of program participants and does not provide for the potential cost shift associated with moving seniors into more expensive state-paid skilled nursing facilities at five times the cost of Adult Day Health Care.

“While we understand the need to resolve California’s fiscal crisis, eliminating the ADHC program doesn’t solve the problem, it makes it worse,” said Lydia Missaelides, executive director of the California Association for Adult Day Services (CAADS).  “The loss of ADHC will result in the closure of more than 300 small businesses that operate these centers and shift 37,000 ADHC patients into nursing homes and hospital emergency rooms that do not have the capacity to absorb the large number of elderly and disabled persons who have complex health and psycho-social needs.”

A study prepared last year by The Lewin Group, a nationally recognized health care research firm, reported that elimination of the ADHC program would result in an immediate cost to the state of $51 million, an amount projected to increase significantly as the aging baby boomer population rapidly expands over the next decade and the need for services such as Adult Day Health Centers increase.  The Lewin study also concluded that at least 40 percent of the 37,000 ADHC program participants would require transfer to a skilled nursing facility within the first 6 months of the program’s termination.

“The patients served by ADHC programs are determined by the state to need ongoing medical care,” said Gary Passmore, Director for the Congress of California Seniors.  “There is no comparable medically supervised daytime care program under Medi-Cal for this population, many of whom suffer from Alzheimer’s diabetes, mental illness or are developmentally disabled. The end result will be a nursing home or hospitalization.”

Every state has some form of a Medicaid-reimbursed ADHC program that provides services to seniors and the disabled community.  If California’s share of Medi-Cal funding is eliminated, it would be the only state in the country that would not provide the vital medical, therapeutic and mental health services offered through existing ADHC programs.  Eliminating California’s ADHC program will leave a gaping hole in the service infrastructure and will likely result in many thousands of medically fragile seniors without a preferred option to meet their needs.

“We believe this proposal will move California in the wrong direction,” said John Gallapaga who helps lead AARP California’s Capitol Action Team.  “The last thing the state should be doing at this time is eliminating 300 ADHC centers.  It is disturbing that at exactly the time when there is a growing need for these services, there would be a proposal to eliminate a significant part of the infrastructure upon which older Californians depend.  We respectfully urge that this proposal be rejected.”

The California Senior Partnership includes the California Association for Adult Day Services (CAADS), Southern California-based AltaMed Health Services, AARP, Congress of California Seniors, Los Angeles Aging Advocacy Coalition, and the Adult Day Healthcare Association. 

To download a copy of the ad click here: http://www.vimeo.com/20005498

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