Veto from Governor Brown halts adult daycare funding

July 27, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Once the model for the nation to keep the elderly and disabled out of expensive nursing homes, California will cease to offer adult day healthcare on December 1 after Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill that would have kept adult day care centers open throughout the state.

The Legislature completely eliminated funding and Brown vetoed a proposal this week for a replacement program that could have helped about 35,000 of the neediest clients.

Kay Wolb, 80, will not be able live independently in her apartment now and has five months to figure out what she'll do.

"I think that's a hell of a bad deal; the governor should have signed it," Wolb said.

Without state funding, about 95 percent of the centers will close. Seventeen have already done so statewide, leaving some of the state's most vulnerable residents in a lurch.

Eskaton Program Director Jill Yungling can hardly hold back the tears.

"I just that this is so sad that in the end of their life, when they need us the most, after they've made their contributions, that we're not there for them," Yungling said.

Brown said without approval of the tax extensions, he had to make more budget cuts to get the state's finances in order.

"The principle here is that California does not have enough money to do all the things it has been doing and for years, it's been living on false pretenses, namely that there was more money than available," Brown said.

The governor says the state is looking for other services to humanely help these people, but advocates point out most patients don't qualify for those programs, which is why adult day healthcare was created in the first place.

"They're saying that all these services are available and that is just garbage," Yungling said. "If they go to a skilled nursing service, which they're going to need, or ER, or the hospital, then the cost to the state and to the taxpayer is going to be enormous."

"Oh, I hate that idea, I don't want to go to nursing home, I think that's the worst thing I could do," Wolb said.

The California Association for Adult Day Services estimates as many as 87 percent would end up in emergency rooms for things like preventable falls and medication mismanagement within 90 days of adult day services ending.


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