SACRAMENTO, Calif., July 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The California Association of Health Facilities (CAHF) joins Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in calling upon the state Legislature to pass the long-overdue state budget. "The impasse must end. If the state budget is not enacted within the next few days, the state will not be able to pay providers for 24-hour care for nearly 6,000 developmentally disabled (DD) individuals living in more than 1,000 small community-based group homes throughout California," said Jim Gomez, CAHF president and CEO. The state has exhausted its contingency fund which allowed it to make payments for services provided under the Medi-Cal program since the start of the 2007-08 fiscal year July 1. Without a state budget, the state lacks authority and funding to make additional payments beginning Aug. 2. "The owners of these homes who provide life-sustaining care for thousands of severely handicapped and disabled individuals, many of whom are young adults, will be forced to find a way to meet payroll come next week if there is still no state budget," said Ron Dodgen, a provider of services for the developmentally disabled. "The budget impasse is not merely a philosophical discussion on spending priorities, it threatens to further jeopardize the financial stability of an already struggling sector of the health-care system. These small homes, typically six beds, rely on Medi-Cal for 100 percent of their funding. Failure by the state to meet its financial obligation to these providers will force many of them to try to secure personal loans or lines of credit to make payroll," continued Gomez. "Most DD providers are already struggling financially as Medi-Cal funding has not kept pace with ongoing cost increases such as the recent increase in minimum wage, and workers' compensation, liability insurance and basic cost- of-living increases. A prolonged budget impasse will most hurt those who can least afford it," said Dodgen. DD providers and those in their care aren't the only ones at risk. The lack of a state spending plan also puts California's 120,000 frail and elderly people who receive 24-hour care each day in 1,400 skilled-nursing facilities in jeopardy. Their caregivers, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck, are understandably concerned about the impact a prolonged budget battle will have on them and their ability to provide for their families. Medi-Cal pays for two-thirds of all nursing-facility care, and, without a payment next week, providers will be forced to scramble to meet payroll. Countless thousands of other Californians also face health-care uncertainty as the impasse continues. Other health-care providers who rely heavily on Medi-Cal, and will not be paid next week without a budget, include hospitals, adult day health centers, home health agencies and many community clinics. CAHF is a nonprofit professional association founded in 1950 comprised of skilled-nursing facilities, subacute care facilities, intermediate-care facilities for the developmentally disabled and institutes for mental health.
SOURCE California Association of Health Facilities