Adult day-care centers, which currently serve 2,597 seniors at 15 locations in San Diego County, are facing state budget cuts that could have a devastating impact on services provided to the elderly.
There are 260 adult day-care facilities in the state.
“Behind these budget cuts are lives,” said Molly Kintz, the program director at Loving Care Adult Day Care, in Mission Valley.
Loving Care has 140 mostly low-income senior participants, some with developmental disabilities. The facility offers medical care, physical therapy, meals and socialization.
Under California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s revised budget cuts prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, the elimination of funding for adult day care would save the state $410 million over two years.
But, Kintz said, the cuts are confusing because Newsom himself deemed adult day care an essential business just last month.
Loving Care temporarily stopped providing services due to the COVID-19 restrictions on March 16, but when the governor deemed the business to be essential on April 3, Loving Care's employees began offering tele-care and other services like meal deliveries.
Kintz said that eliminating services would be devastating for participants.
“To think that they’re going to be at home longer, without any services, whether it’s tele-health or coming into our program to socialize with others, it will be devastating,” Kintz said.
Furthermore, Kintz said that eliminating funding to adult day care would be more expensive for the state in the long run. She said that participants could eventually end up in skilled nursing facilities, which are anywhere from 6-8 percent more expensive.
This is the second time in the last decade that adult day-care funding has faced elimination. After the 2008 recession, then Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed cuts, but a federal class action lawsuit restored the funding in 2011.
The prospect of Newsom's proposed cuts is upsetting for the families of participants.
“They should take into consideration that the elderly need social contact," said Linda Brown, whose 92-year-old mother attends Loving Care Adult Day Care. "They’re home-isolated. I particularly don’t think Gavin Newsom has any idea what it’s going to do to devastate the elderly."
For the cuts to take effect, state lawmakers would have to approve Newsom's revised budget. Kintz said that several subcommittees have met several times to discuss the issue. A final revised state budget is expected to be adopted in mid-June.