Long-Term Care Providers Join Governor In Urging Legislature to Pass Budget Now

Continued impasse further jeopardizes financial stability of providers of

care for persons with developmental disabilities and the frail elderly

Jul 27, 2007, 01:00 ET from California Association of Health Facilities

    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

SOURCE California Association of Health Facilities