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State cuts to affect Loma Linda adult care

February 2, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Governor Jerry Brown's fiscal plan for California calls for extending some taxes and cutting budgets to social services and higher education.

At 102 years old, Paula Pellecer is celebrating in the company of new friends. Every once in a while she needs help to remember her age.

Five days a week she visits the adult day center on the campus of Loma Linda University Medical Center. She receives medical care, recreational activities and other services there, which is a big help to Pellecer's granddaughter and caregiver Evangelina.

"If I don't have that time to do all that with her, because I have so many responsibilities, this place has that to give to her," said Evangelina Pellecer.

The center is in danger of losing some of its state funding. This week Jerry Brown called for the state to tighten its belt in order to close a $24.5-billion budget gap.

"If state funding were cut we would have really a disastrous situation," said Vivian Lopez, director of the Loma Linda University Medical Center Adult Day Health Services.

Lopez says the care patients receive helps keep them out of hospital emergency rooms and in the care of their families.

The adult day center provides services to nearly 100 patients, service that not only help patients but also caregivers.

Without the center, Evangelina Pellecer will have to juggle a new family with the needs of her grandmother.

But one option she won't consider is a nursing facility.

"About a third will be going into nursing homes," said Lopez. "As it is, nursing homes are very crowded and it's three times as expensive to be in a nursing home as it is to come here."

The state currently reimburses the center $38 per patient per day. The federal government matches those funds for a total of $76 per day.

Without the funding the center will be forced to lay off staff, reduce services and take on fewer patients.