Lawmaker Pushes for Restoration of State Funds for Senior Services

by David Gorn

Monday, March 17, 2014

http://www.californiahealthline.org/capitol-desk/2014/3/lawmaker-pushes-for-restoration-of-state-fund-for-senior-services

Assembly member V. Manuel Pérez (D-Coachella) last week said it’s imperative to restore $25 million in funding for senior services cut from previous budgets, particularly from the 2011-12 budget. He wants an Assembly budget subcommittee to put that money back.

“Over the last 10 years, state funding for senior programs within the Older Californians Act has been slashed to the bone,” Pérez said.

That includes elimination or reduction of a long list of senior services, he said, including Alzheimer’s Day Care Resource Centers, Senior Companion, Linkages, Respite Care, Brown Bag, Caregiver Resource Centers and the Long-term Care Ombudsman program.

Fully restoring funding for all of those services would come with a relatively low price tag, Pérez said — $25 million of general fund dollars would translate into $41 million, when matched with federal money, Pérez said.

The issue is expected to be reviewed at next week’s hearing of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services.

Pérez said life has changed for seniors in California in recent years — and not for the better.

“Community-based programs … enable seniors to remain independent in their own homes, avoiding costly placement into institutional settings,” Pérez said. “The drastic cuts … have done serious harm to the infrastructure of the aging services network.”

Pérez cited statistics from the Kaiser Family Foundation that rank California seniors as having the second-highest poverty rate in the nation. One in five California seniors live in poverty, he said, and more than half the seniors in the state live below 200% of poverty. The number of seniors is increasing in California so over the next few decades the overall number of people affected likely will climb dramatically, he said.

“I believe the restoration of funds to the Older Californians Act fits squarely with the core values of the [Democratic] Caucus’ Blueprint for a Responsible Budget,” Pérez said.

“Especially now with the state’s older population on the rise,” he said, “we must make essential state investments to repair and revitalize this network of flexible, locally driven, person-focused services.”

Reader Comments (1) Post a Comment

Debbie Toth

Thank you for this article. I am happy to see an elected official taking an interest in the systematic decimation of the senior safety net; albeit 6 years late. The problem is it’s only one tiny spec of the senior safety net that has been unraveled to balance the budget. Programs, like MSSP and ADHC, which serve a primarily nursing facility level of care population, have seen elimination and the number of seniors able to be served due to millions in funding cuts plummet. If and when the electeds are really ready to talk restoration of the senior safety net, they might first look at remaining infrastructure, the frailest and most at risk, and for necessary programs like the Alzheimer’s Day Care Resource Center and other Older CA Act funding – a better way to ensure the greatest number of dollars are going to direct service, not more uncoordinated oversight. It’s a new day: we need to spend more thoughtfully to have a greater opportunity to preserve more independence and dignity.

March 17, 2014 at 9:45 AM

Nancy Volpert

Director of Public Policy

Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles

3580 Wilshire Blvd Suite 700

Los Angeles, CA 90010

Direct Phone: 213.260.7906

Phone: 323.761.8800

Fax: 323.761.8801

nvolpert@jfsla.org

www.jfsla.org

Help us find these participants of the 1977 San Francisco 504 Protests!

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The Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University is trying to connect with the following individuals who were in the San Francisco Bay Area in April 1977. We’re eager to interview them about their experiences at the Section 504 Protests when more than one hundred people with different disabilities occupied the San Francisco federal building for over a month, the longest occupation of a federal building by any group in US history. We are profiling the events in an accessible exhibit “Patient No More! People with Disabilities Securing Civil Rights” that will highlight the Bay Area’s central role in helping pave the way for the Americans with Disabilities Act to launch with its 25th anniversary in 2015. To learn more, visit the exhibit website: http://longmoreinstitute.sfsu.edu/patientnomore If you have any information please contact us by phone: 415-405-3528 or email: beitiks@sfsu.edu

PEOPLE WE STILL NEED CONTACT INFORMATION FOR:

Beverly Bertaina

Judith Dadek

Denise Darensbourg

Willie Diggs (Machinist Union – not sure if spelling is correct)

Linda Gill

Jim Gonsales

Sally Gordon

Pat Hall

Margaret (Dusty) Irvine

Chuck Jackson

Joanie Jackson

Jane Johnson

Kathy Kramner

Ray Landers

Jim Leinem

Andy Lennox

Tom Manley

Larry Montoya

Al Pimental

Franco Ramsay

Bonnie Regina

John Roletti

Jonathon Scheuer

Debbie Stanley

Terri Tanaka

Ron Washington

Evan White

Marie White

Jane Wobengai

Leonidas Gkimisis

Student Assistant,

Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability

San Francisco State University

1600 Holloway Avenue

San Francisco, CA 94132

Longmore Institute 135-136 Humanities (415) 405-3528 http://longmoreinstitute.sfsu.edu/

EVAN J. KEMP Jr., 60, CHAMPION of DISABLED PERSONS

Evan J. Kemp Jr., who had to take a Government job in 1964 because nobody else would hire a disabled lawyer, died at a hospital near his home in Washington on Tuesday, satisfied that he had helped to make the world a bit more accepting of people like him. He was 60 and, as the chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 1990, helped shape the landmark Americans With Disabilities Act.

His wife, Janine Bertram, said the cause has not been determined but was not related to Kugelberg-Welander disease, the progressive and degenerative form of spinal muscular atrophy that had dogged him since he was 12.

Evan J. Kemp at signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990

Evan J. Kemp at signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990

For a man in a wheelchair, Mr. Kemp cut a fancy swath through the corridors of power. That was partly because he was an expert bridge player who had card-playing cronies all over official Washington, and partly because he was so bright that as his friend C. Boyden Gray, who was President George Bush’s counsel, put it yesterday, ”He was usually three steps ahead of everybody else and would sort of sit there bemused until the rest of us caught up.”

But it was mainly because he was a man with a mission.

A perennial hard-luck guy who turned his misfortunes into opportunities, Mr. Kemp had been battling the odds since he was a budding 12-year-old football player and heard a doctor tell him that the sporadic muscle weakness he had been experiencing was an incurable disease that would kill him before he was 14.

Two years later, when he was defiantly still alive, his doctors said that they had been wrong and that he really had another incurable disease, one that would kill him before he was 20. (It was not until he was 28 that he received the diagnosis that stuck.)

By some measures, Mr. Kemp should have been grateful when he found a Government job in 1964. He had made it through Washington & Lee University and graduated in the top 10 percent of his class at the University of Virginia Law School.

But after 39 different law firms turned him down, Mr. Kemp, a native of New York who grew up in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, realized that there was no room in private practice for a lawyer so disabled that he lurched when he walked.

He may have been glad enough to get a job with the Internal Revenue Service, and later one with the Securities and Exchange Commission, but when he asked whether he could use the commission’s garage entrance because it made access to his office easier, he was told that he could use the entrance but would have to park elsewhere no matter how hard it might be for him to walk from his car.

Then in 1971 the garage door slammed down him as he was going to work, fracturing a leg so badly that when the fractures healed he could no longer walk even laboriously and had to use a wheelchair.

”When I was walking I had the same disability,” he once said. ”But when I was in a wheelchair it was more visible,” so visible that he was yanked off the commission’s management track and told that a man in a wheelchair would not be suitable for a supervisory position.

In 1977 he filed a job discrimination suit and won, but by then he had become so incensed at the way the disabled were treated throughout society that he left the Government in 1980 to become the director of the Disability Rights Center.

As not only Washington’s leading advocate for the disabled, but also a Republican, Mr. Kemp was named to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by President Ronald Reagan in 1987. By the time President Bush made him the chairman three years later, Mr. Kemp had already played a major behind-the-scenes role in writing the American for Disabilities Act, which extended protections to the disabled.

Source:   http://www.nytimes.com/1997/08/14/us/evan-j-kemp-jr-60-champion-of-disabled.html

MEDI-CAL DENTAL COVERAGE PARTIALLY RESTORED

Legislative leaders and Gov. Jerry Brown (D) have  agreed on a budget plan that restores partial funding for dental services in Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program.

Oral HealthNorthern California legislators and dental providers have been at the forefront of a campaign over the past four years to get dental coverage for Medi-Cal adults restored. For many advocates and stakeholders, this week’s budget news was considered a partial victory. Although not the complete restoration of $131 million sought, the state plans to spend about $16.9 million this fiscal year and $77 million next year on dental coverage. The money will provide preventive care, dental restorations and full dentures for adult beneficiaries of Medi-Cal.

denticalRestoring adult coverage in Denti-Cal was considered a priority for California Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento).

“Dental care is so essential to physical health and employability,” Steinberg said. “The current alternatives are gum disease and use of hospital emergency rooms at the expense of taxpayers, which is unacceptable.”

Lindsey Robinson, a pediatric dentist in Grass Valley and president of the California Dental Association, called the agreement “a significant achievement in the effort to restore all adult Denti-Cal services and a step in the right direction to address the oral health care crisis facing millions of Californians.”

by Mari Edlin, California Healthline Regional Correspondent

Read the rest of the article at http://www.californiahealthline.org/features/2013/medical-dental-coverage-partially-restored.aspx#ixzz2Wt8niGJz

IN-HOME SUPPORTIVE SERVICES (IHSS) SUIT SETTLED

NOTICE REGARDING IN-HOME SUPPORTIVE SERVICES (IHSS)

In 2009, the State of California tried to cut IHSS domestic and related hours and to cut funds for IHSS workers who make more than $9.50 an hour. In 2011, the State tried to cut IHSS hours by 20%.

Consumer feeding

In response, IHSS recipients and labor unions filed lawsuits. They won temporary orders stopping the cuts. The State appealed the lawsuits. No one knows if the courts would allow the cuts or not. Now there is a settlement. If the court approves the settlement:

• There will be no 20% cut in IHSS hours. There will be a one-year cut of 8% starting around July 1, 2013. This is 4.4% below current hours because there is already a cut of 3.6% that is not part of these lawsuits. (3.6% + 4.4% = 8%).

wheelchair-dog
• Around July 2014, the cut in IHSS hours will go down to 7%. (3.4% on top of the 3.6% current cut).

• There will be no cuts in State funding for IHSS wages.

• You CAN ask the county for extra hours if your circumstances change.

 

TO GET MORE DETAILS OR FILE AN OBJECTION WITH THE COURT:

You can get a copy of the class notice and the settlement agreement from your county welfare office, public authority or online at: DOWNLOAD IHSS SETTLEMENT CLASS NOTICE

Also, you can get details at these websites: www.disabilityrightsca.org, www.altshulerberzon.com, www.dss.cahwnet.gov, and www.dhcs.ca.gov.
banner-ihssYou can also leave a message for the lawyers representing IHSS recipients at 1-866-752-6679.

THE DEADLINE TO OBJECT TO THE SETTLEMENT IS MAY 3, 2013.

You don’t have to do anything if you do not object to the settlement.

DISABILITY ADVOCATES PROTECT ACCESS

ADA IS PROTECTED AND EXPANDED BY TESTIMONY IN SACRAMENTO

We can thank the remarkable testimony from the disability community January 23 & 24 at the California Building Standards Commission for convincing the Commission to revise some of the most egregious of the code change proposals that concerned us.   Congratulations to everyone who called in and those who attended the hearing.  Great job!

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Here’s what was accomplished:

1. The exception for “structural impracticability” that was proposed to apply to both new and existing construction will be eliminated.

2.  We will no longer be held forever to using the 2010 code for telephones, restrooms, drinking fountains, signs and entrances.  As the proposed code was written, any building that was remodeled and had to make these features accessible would not have to make any upgrades if they met the 2010 standards.  Instead, the this section will be amended to allow this kind of “grandfathering” only for one code cycle back (the code changes every three years.)

3.  An accessible route will be required to water slides, wrestling & boxing arenas, animal containment areas, and raised diving boards & diving platforms

4.  Hotel and motel rooms which are not accessible will still have to have accessible room and bathroom entrances and access into and through the bathroom.  Access into the bathroom had been proposed to be eliminated.

5.  The color contrast required for way finding surfaces for persons with vision impairments will be maintained.

6.  The center line of toilets will have to be between 17 and 18 inches from the wall.  The proposed code was to allow 16 to 18 inches, which would create a barrier for many users.

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Many issues for the vision impaired were discussed by those testifying and will also be the subject of future code development as will be our issues which did not get addressed yesterday.  The Commission also voted to direct the State Architect to work more openly with people with disabilities.

What we will have in the new code that goes into effect January 1, 2014 is the best of the ADA Standards which provide more access requirements than we have had in state code and the best of the state code which we have used since 1982.

It’s amazing how effective the disability community can be.  However, much appreciation must go to the Secretary Anna Caballero who chairs the Commission meetings.  She was most gracious and went out of her way to insure we had an opportunity to make ourselves heard.  Appreciation also goes to the staff for the State Architect, who met advocates the evening of the 23rd to discuss our concerns, which was very helpful in clarifying the issues so that they could be addressed under the parameters of the Commission authority.

PRESSURE ARISES TO UN-DO MEDI-CAL CUTBACKS

RESTORE HEALTH FUNDS, ADVOCATES URGE LEADERS

A free dental clinic offered this summer at the Cal Expo grounds in Sacramento may serve as the perfect illustration of how great is the need for restoring many, if not all, of the medical and dental services which have been cut from the Medi-Cal program over the last several years of deep budget deficits and its attendant cuts.

“Three years ago, the state eliminated most adult dental services to help balance the budget.

“As California recovers from a deep recession and expects several billion dollars worth of new voter-approved taxes, Democrats and low-income advocates are clamoring to restore health and social service programs such as adult Denti-Cal.

“Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, specifically mentions the dental program as a priority and sees ‘pent-up demand’ to undo the most severe budget cuts, though he isn’t sure if that can happen immediately.”

Readers may recall that inability to access even basic dental care through a managed care program in Sacramento County reached scandalous levels earlier this year and cast serious doubts about the value of the managed care model in all areas of healthcare.  With the state Department of Health Care Services poised to launch managed care model health care reform throughout California’s 58 counties by 2014, it should be clear by now that such reform will absolutely depend on having a revenue stream that is reliable and sufficiently robust to reimburse providers at an adequate level, as well as having strong protections for  patients against systemic abuses.

whaley_dental_photos001

Although the new revenue has nearly closed the budget gap, an estimated $1.9 Billion deficit is predicted for 2013, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO).  Governor Jerry Brown has signaled that he may be less willing to restore the requested lost funding until the economy exhibits a more robust recovery

The full story can be read at:  http://www.sacbee.com/2012/12/12/5048228/californias-recovery-raises-hopes.html

STUDY: REPUBLICAN PLAN WOULD CHOP MEDICAID BY $1.7 TRILLION

By PHIL GALEWITZ, KAISER HEALTH NEWS
October 25, 2012

The House Republican plan to repeal President Barack Obama’s health law and turn Medicaid into a block grant program would save the federal government $1.7 trillion from 2013 to 2022, a 38-percent spending reduction,according to a report this week by the Urban Institute for the Kaiser Family Foundation.

 

It would also result in 31 million to 38 million fewer people getting  Medicaid coverage in 2022, according to the report. The entitlement program, which is jointly financed by the state and federal governments, now provides health coverage to about 62 million poor people, about half of whom are children.

THIS MIGHT HURT A LITTLE BIT

The block grant idea — paying a fixed sum to states — was formulated by Rep. Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate and chair of the House Budget committee, and passed by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives in 2011 and 2012. The strategy is part of the GOP plan to cut the nation’s $1 trillion federal deficit.

 

Romney backs a similar Medicaid block grant strategy that would cut $100 billion a year from Medicaid starting in 2013. Under Romney’s plan, federal payments to the states for Medicaid would grow at 1 percentage point a year above the Consumer Price Index. That would slow funding increases, but give states greater freedom in how they use the money, including the ability to cut eligibility or benefits to meet their budget needs. Today, the federal government sets minimum rules and guidelines and must approve any major changes to the program.

 

The Urban Institute analysis, which updates an analysis originally done in May 2011, said the House block grant plan would cut funding to hospitals by as much as $363.8 billion, and payments to nursing homes by $22.2 billion.

DISABLED FOLKS ARE LIABLE TO BE HURT THE MOST

Of the $1.7 trillion cut to Medicaid spending, $932 billion of the reductions come from repealing the Medicaid expansion in Obama’s health law and $810 billion is a result of spending cuts that are part of the block grant.

 

Under the health law, Medicaid would expand to cover as many as 17 million more people starting in 2014. States have the option to decide whether to expand eligibility, and several Republican-led states including Florida and Texas say they can’t afford the expansion.

 

This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

 

To read the article source, click here:
http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2012/10/25/study-republican-chop-medicaid/16733/

Another source of information:  http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/08/is-medicaid-doomed-how-ryans-plan-would-affect-americas-very-poorest/261070

GOV. BROWN SIGNS ADA REFORM BILL

Business Groups are Thrilled;
Disability Advocates are Unhappy

In a rare bipartisan action, the Legislature and Governor Brown worked together to craft new legislation in an attempt to move the state forward in bringing more businesses into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  SB 1186, co-sponsored by Senate President Darrel Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Senator Bob Dutton (R-Rancho Cucamonga) was passed with overwhelming support from both parties and signed by the Governor in September.

The major provisions of SB 1186 are:

  • bans “demand for money” letters,

  • requires attorneys to send a notice letter at least 30 days before filing a lawsuit

  • prevents “stacking” of multiple claims to increase monetary damages

  • significantly reduces damages against business owners who correct alleged violations within 60 days of receiving a complaint

  • requires landlords to disclose whether their buildings or properties are state-certified and in compliance with ADA laws

“We are extremely pleased that Gov. Brown recognized that disabled access lawsuits are out of control and that change was needed,” said Kim Stone, president of the Civil Justice Association of California, an industry-sponsored advocacy group.

“This bill should provide some relief to small business owners who are making good faith efforts to comply and it should help rein in unscrupulous plaintiffs’ lawyers who have been exploiting the Americans with Disabilities Act for financial gain,” Stone said.

Sen. Steinberg said SB 1186 is a compromise that applies a “common sense approach” to resolve difficult issues.

“The whole point of our state and federal disability access laws is to remove barriers for the disabled, giving them full and equal access to businesses like everyone else. Up until now, unfortunately, it was often cheaper and quicker for business owners to settle out of court than to remove those obstacles,” he said.  “SB 1186 will instead provide more incentives to fix the violations and enhance accessibility.”

While acknowledging many good points in the new law, representatives from Californians for Disability Rights were concerned with several provisions.  Businesses can now claim ‘good faith’ attempts to comply with the ADA in new and remodeled projects that fail to meet standards.  In so doing, they will be given reduced penalties and additional time when they may have failed to consult with professionals versed in the ADA prior to attempting modifications.  These reduced penalties may work to incentivize non-compliance.

Since the passage of the ADA in 1990, 50% tax credits have been available to encourage businesses to move forward with providing the legally required access to disabled people.  Businesses and government have had 22 years to move into compliance.  With such a high level of financial support and 22 years since passage of the ADA, advocates rightly want to know the fundamental question, “If not now, when?”

Disability advocates are concerned that business interests are using this issue of alleged “renegade attorneys” to disguise core opposition to the ADA itself. “If you can’t criticize the law, then go after the attorneys,” said Tony Goldsmith, civil rights attorney and member of the legislative committee of Californians for Disability Rights.

At the bottom of the food chain are the people living with disabilities who sincerely wish to experience full access to all the U. S. has to offer.  To conflate the issue of the actions of a few attorneys with the desire of disabled people to assert their rights is to risk diminishing public support for the requirements of the ADA.  People living with disabilities also want to experience freedom and independence.  Enforcement of the ADA is essential to the realization of the dream.
The independent living movement takes this issue seriously.  We hope that the compromise worked out in this law translates into moving many more businesses into providing the full access required by the ADA as envisioned by the authors of the law.

The bill is an urgency measure, meaning it will take effect immediately.

DOMESTIC WORKERS BILL OF RIGHTS VETOED

In what may be a victim of election season politics, a landmark bill dubbed “The Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights,” Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed Assemblymember Tom Ammiano’s AB 889 at the last minute on Sunday 9/30/12, stalling efforts to provide common workplace protections to workers – mostly women – who have historically labored without guarantees of overtime or meal breaks.

It needs to be pointed out that sincere efforts were made to ensure that the rights of disabled people employing their own assistants would not be harmed in the process of granting rights to domestic workers in other situations.  “We worked very hard to make sure that the employers, as well as the workers and the disability rights community who ended up removing opposition, were heard in producing this bill,” Ammiano said.

“It’s long overdue for these workers to get these rights,” Ammiano said. “Almost everyone else has had them for decades. There will be new efforts to bring them protections, but we must always remember that justice delayed is justice denied.”

The bill, AB 889, was the product of months of work and negotiation, culminating with a late agreement that would have sent the matter to the Department of Industrial Relations for formulation of regulations.

California would have been the second state to enact labor protections for domestic workers. New York enacted a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in 2010.  The California bill was supported by more than 100 labor, women’s, faith and community groups including National Domestic Worker Alliance, Mujeres Unidas y Activas, CHIRLA, NAACP, AFL-CIO, and Pilipino Workers Center, and has received prominent endorsements from The New York Times and “Parks and Rec” celebrity Amy Poehler.

Click HERE for a link to the entire bill.  The Governor’s veto message can be viewed HERE.