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Adult Day Health Centers Struggle to Keep Funding

Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) centers across California are fighting to keep their funding to aid the 37,000 seniors who are depending on their care.

Governor Jerry Brown released his proposed state budget on Jan. 10 that called to eliminate all funding for ADHC. The committee conference chose not to completely eliminate ADHC from California, but they drastically cut the state’s funding from $177 million to $85 million. ADHC will also be eliminated as a Medi-Cal benefit.

ADHC centers are concerned that the fifty-percent cut in funding will affect their ability to give proper care to the thousands of members across California.

Those who depend on ADHC funding and care are also extremely worried for their future.

“A lot of people who come here are shut out from the social world,” said Dawn Marie Hatten, a patient at the Robertson Adult Day Health Center in Sacramento. “They wouldn’t have a social network or have access to the care that we get here. We have a loving and caring staff that is dedicated to the participants here in the center. I would be a disaster if I did not have this place.”

Hatten attends the Robertson Adult Day Center four times per week, giving respite to her daughter and son-in-law with whom she lives. The center provides her with physical therapy, medical care, and group activities with fellow participants in the facility.

Adults like Hatten will be greatly affected by the reduced funding for ADHC centers in California.

“I come here because I enjoy meeting new people and I need the physical therapy that the center provides,” said Mary Martin, another member at the Robertson Adult Day Health Center. “If the center was not available to me, I would end up staying shut in my home without the proper care that I need.”

According to the California Association for Adult Day Services (CAADS), a redesigned federal waiver program will no longer qualify certain people for ADHC. Those who qualify will be placed on a waiting list and many will have no access to ADHC at all.

Some centers will lose patients as a result of the federal waiver program and will be forced to close.

California Senator Mark Leno spoke on his views of the reduced funding for ADHC programs.

“If we don't get to the ballot and if voters don't approve the revenue measures, this program in particular will probably have to be eliminated,” said Leno. “Unfortunately, any number of those seniors will find their way into long-term care, which not only will be a heartbreak for them and for their families, but in fact, will erase any savings the state thought that it had.

Dawn Marie Hatten is beginning to question our society’s priorities.

“I believe that judging how civilized a society is, is how they take care of those who are least able to take care of themselves,” stated Hatten. “The idea of balancing the budget on the backs of the disabled, sick, and poor is insane. Please do not close our center. We need it.”

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