Here in California, the frailest, poorest and oldest in the state are being potentially knifed in the back by slashing budget cuts to the very services that keep them out of nursing homes.
The Multipurpose Senior Services Program , one of the first geriatric care management programs in the nation, designed to keep fail elders out of nursing homes, is set to axed from the California State budget.
The Governor has also proposed elimination of $2.9 million of state funding and $3.9 million in federal matching funds for the 11 statewide Caregiver Resource Centers,
providing critical respite care and counseling to caregivers of adults with chronic and disabling health conditions.
Both programs were designed 4 decades ago to keep elders at home and out of more expensive nursing homes and staunch family caregiver burnout. They offer huge safety nets, designed to keep frail seniors in the community.
MSSP is of a daycare program providing rich social and health services to frail elders and their families. The Care Resources Program caregiver respite and support to overwhelmed family caregivers.
These programs save the state a bundle of money. Each of the MSSP clients is disabled enough to be eligible for nursing homes and poor enough to be eligible for MediCal. So instead of the state paying $80,000 or $90,000 per person per year in a nursing home, the State pays only on average a little over $5,000 for the person to be in MSSP.This makes the cuts both fiscally stupid and mystifying.
What California government is doing is ripping giant holes in this web plummeting 45,000 seniors into the cesspool of COVID-19 skilled nursing facilities, where almost half of California COVID-19 deaths occured.
Without the services and supports available through MSSP, and the Caregiver Resource Center, many older Californians will have no other choice but to be admitted to nursing homes, where nearly half of all deaths related to COVID-19 have occurred.
But the doors may be barred. Given the high risk of COVID-19 in nursing homes, owners are reluctant to take new patients. So, the elimination of the Caregiver Resources Center and MSSP is really a death sentence to frail elders. It leaves no fire extinguisher for caregiver burnout of the family caregivers who care for elders with the toughest disease: brain impairment- Alzheimer’s, stroke, dementia, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s other conditions that may cause memory loss or confusion.
This may cause a cascade effect- placement of these horribly demented elders, into the plague-infested nursing home or also to death’s door
Governor Newsome has been a national hero as the first governor to issue a stay at home order to close counties down in California. He slowed the spread of coronavirus and kept California in a safe zone compared to most other states. But this was at the cost of taxpayer dollars as 4.7 Californians were put out of work.
He finds himself in a double bind now with a chasm of a budget hole, that he is trying up to fill with cuts like the ones proposed to the senior program. But the cuts will lead seniors to nursing homes costing $80,000 a year instead of the $5000 for MSSP into those caldrons of coronavirus
California is always the canary in the coal mine- the innovator that most states follow. So, these cuts can be expected across the nationwide. Who is the real villain in these cuts, the Trump Presidency. 875 billion was approved in the House of representatives in the HEROES Act. Cutting both programs saves $119 million. But these cuts would be eliminated if Congress OKs this aid for state and local governments — a prospect many state lawmakers believe is unlikely as President Trump is threatening to veto the money to the states . This has spurred a cacophony of outrage from local legislators and senior advocates. angered state lawmakers from both
major political parties who say it’s irresponsible in light of the coronavirus pandemic that has spread through nursing homes across the state. It’s one of many conflicts emerging this week as lawmakers hold public hearings examining Newsom’s proposal before they must vote on a spending plan by June 15.
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