Brown’s budget trims adult day-care program
James Rufus Koren, Staff Writer
Posted: 01/17/2011 08:35:48 PM PST

Services for seniors and the disabled were often targeted for cuts under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and that trend is continuing under Gov. Jerry Brown.

Brown’s budget proposal, released Jan. 10, calls for eliminating state funds for adult day-care services. That’s a move program supporters say could push more seniors into nursing homes and ultimately cost the state more money.

“I don’t think that’s advisable,” said Delphine Coutts, 85, a Rancho Cucamonga resident who goes to the Health Guard Inland Adult Day Health Care center in Upland three days per week. “The center I go to in Upland, they’re doing a wonderful job of getting the seniors to participate in events and exercise. … I feel much better since attending.”

State lawmakers don’t like the idea, but as they continue to study the budget, they say it’s not clear there’s a better or less painful way to save money.

“From the looks of it, if we don’t cut there, where do we cut?” said Assemblywoman Norma Torres, D-Ontario.

Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod, D-Montclair, said, “I don’t think the governor has much choice in what he’s doing.”

Adult Day Health Care centers provide physical therapy, preventive medical care and other services to seniors and disabled people who are at risk of being placed in nursing homes.

The program is paid for through Medi-Cal, the state’s safety-net health care program, which is partly funded by the federal government.

Without adult day-care services, Tomacita Aguilar of Rancho Cucamonga said her mother would likely have to go to a nursing home.

Every day, Aguilar drops her mother off at Health Guard Inland Adult Day Health Care Center in Upland.

“She just turned 82,” said Aguilar, a teacher’s aide for the Pomona Unified School District. “She’s got the first signs of Alzheimer’s. She has heart congestion, hypertension and diabetes. … She needs to have her blood sugar checked, and her blood pressure. She needs someone to do that for her.”

Arthur Issaian, program director for Health Guard Inland, said most of the center’s clients would wind up in nursing homes without the center.

Lydia Missaelides, executive director of the California Association for Adult Day Services, said the state saves money in the long run by providing for adult day care services, which keep seniors out of more costly full-time nursing homes and also helps keep seniors out of emergency rooms and hospitals.

“This is the least expensive medical setting for people to get their health-care needs met,” she said. The proposed cut “is not making a lot of sense to us.”

Assemblyman Paul Cook, R-Yucaipa, said that’s why he’s not in favor of Brown’s proposed cuts to another program: In-Home Supportive Services, which provides in-home care for seniors and the disabled.

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