Settlement Postpones Axing of Calif. Eldercare Program

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LOS ANGELES--A settlement agreement reached in a lawsuit brought to postpone the elimination of the state’s Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) program, previously set for Dec. 1, could bode well for many of California’s 38,000 frail seniors and people with disabilities, who rely on the program to stay at home and out of a nursing home. Due to state budget cuts, California’s 300 or so ADHC programs were on track to lose their main funding source, MediCal (the state’s Medicaid program). The settlement in Darling et al v Toby Douglas delays elimination of the ADHC MediCal benefit until Feb. 29, 2012.

In many cases, the patients have no other care options. Some live alone, others live with family members who must work in order to make ends meet. The centers also provide much needed respite to caregivers who are on call 24-hours a day, seven days a week for family members whose conditions can include Alzheimer, stroke, diabetes, heart disease, or other disabling illnesses.

The lawsuit sought to prevent the program’s demise until state health officials could show they have a plan to provide “adequate, appropriate, and uninterrupted services” to patients impacted by the closing of hundreds of ADHC centers. On Oct. 31, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a “Supplemental Statement of Interest” in support of the plaintiffs in Darling v Davis, on the grounds that the state’s plan was “well below the required threshold to ensure” there would be no gaps in service.

This article is also available in Spanish: Lea esta nota en español:"Aplazan el Fin al Programa Diurno para Adultos: Un Acuerdo Podría Preservar los Servicios Bajo un Nuevo Beneficio."

The ADHC program’s elimination is the focus of an innovative multimedia news package titled “Home Alone: Adult Health Center Cuts Devastate Elderly, Disabled,” a collaborative project developed by New American Media and NAM’s LA Beez, a consortium of Los Angeles ethnic-media outlets, in partnership with the CHFC Center for Health Reporting at USC. The multi-ethnic coverage chronicles the effects of California’s pending elimination of the state-funded Adult Day Health Care centers (ADHC). For a list of “Home Alone” stories with links, visit the LA Beez website or go to the Center for Health Reporting site.