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Governor Brown's veto halts adult daycare funding

July 27, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Governor Jerry Brown is taking some political heat on the issue of adult daycare. Brown is under pressure to restore adult daycare funding.

After three decades, California can no longer afford a highly regarded program. Hundreds of adult health daycare centers will close for good.

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.

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, won't 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," said Wolb. "The governor shouldn't have signed it."

Without state funding, about 95 percent of the centers will close.

Seventeen have already done so statewide, leaving one of the state's most vulnerable populations in a lurch.

"I just think 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," said Jill Yungling, program director of Eskaton Adult Day Health Care Center.

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," said Brown. "And for years, it's been living on false pretenses, namely that there was more money than was available."

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

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

The California Association for Adult Day Services estimates as many as 87 percent would end up in an emergency room within the first 90 days of adult day healthcare services ending for things like preventable falls, medication mismanagement and other complications.

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