BUDGET CUTS AND COVID – A DEATH SENTENCE FOR LOW-INCOME SENIORS AND THE DISABLED

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CONTACTS:

Patricia McGinnis, Executive Director, CANHR
(415) 974-5171 patm@canhr.org

Pauline Shatara, Deputy Director, CANHR
(415) 974-5171 pauline@canhr.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 19, 2020

San Francisco, CA – California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform will hold a press conference at 10:00 am on Wednesday, May 20, 2020 via Zoom to announce their opposition to proposed cuts in home and community based services, the reinstitution of draconian Medi-Cal recovery policies and  will call for reinstating visitation rights for family members of nursing home and assisted living residents who have not seen their family members for over two months.

CANHR staff will be joined by family members of nursing home residents and representatives from other advocacy organizations including Disability Rights CaliforniaJustice in AgingWestern Center on Law and Poverty and the Institute on Aging.

On May 15, 2020, the Governor’s May revised budget was released. While providing millions of more dollars to poorly performing nursing homes, the proposed budget eliminates the very services that would provide alternatives to nursing homes, where over 40% of COVID-positive Californians have died.

Some of the proposed cuts include:

  • Elimination of Community Based Adult Services (CBAS) and Multipurpose Senior Services Program (MSSP) – both of which serve thousands of aged and disabled Californians as alternatives to nursing home placements by allowing them to receive services and remain at home.
  • Reducing In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) hours by 7% which will result in many more aged and persons with disabilities being unable to remain at home.
  • Reducing SSI/SSP grants for the lowest income citizens in the state, bringing “poor” to a new level of poor.
  • Reinstating draconian Medi-Cal recovery policies prior to 2017 that claimed the homes of primarily low-income Black, Latinx, and API families and destabilizing their communities. Not a “cut,” and not a “savings “– only an estimate of what the state can recover from the estates and family members of deceased Medi-Cal beneficiaries, creating more poverty and homelessness.
  • Visitation:  Advocates are also calling for statewide policies that would open the doors of long-term care facilities to visitors for residents, i.e., allowing a designated visitor to see the resident and provide the support and comfort that is seriously lacking for residents. 

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities have been ground zero for COVID-19.  Countless residents have died during outbreaks in nursing homes with terrible histories of neglect. Hundreds of California nursing homes have outbreaks that immediately threaten the life of every resident, with more tragedies unfolding every day.  By eliminating home and community-based services, the proposed budget sentences California’s aged and disabled citizens to die alone in substandard, underregulated and understaffed nursing homes.

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