Legislation that would make the Community Based Adult Services Program permanent in California was approved unanimously Monday on the Assembly floor.
AB 518, co-authored by Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, D-Davis, who chairs the Assembly Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care, and Bob Blumenfield, D-San Fernando Valley, who chairs the Assembly Budget Committee, has now moved to the Senate.
The CBAS program, which replaced California’s Adult Day Health Care program, offers seniors and people with disabilities a cost-effective alternative to nursing homes by providing medical and support services in community-based day settings.
“With a rapidly aging population, and California’s most turbulent budget decisions behind us, it is time to start rebuilding a network of home and community-based options for the elderly and persons with disabilities,” Yamada said. “CBAS is both cost-effective and compassionate.”
CBAS was established to settle a lawsuit brought against the state on behalf of disabled individuals whose independence was jeopardized by the elimination of California’s long-standing Adult Day Health Care program. The settlement agreement expires in June 2014, leaving the future of the program uncertain.
“Thousands of patients and their families don’t know what their future holds when the settlement period expires,” said Blumenfield, author of legislation vetoed in 2011 that closely resembles the CBAS program. “Uncertainty is a nightmare that these families have endured over many years about access to vital care for their loved ones. This bill helps end that.”
The Legislature agreed to eliminate the Adult Day Health Care program during the height of the state’s budget crisis in 2011 based on an understanding that a similar, though smaller program would replace it. Lawmakers were “blindsided,” Yamada said, when that alternate program was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown, leaving seniors and people with disabilities stranded without an affordable alternative to institutionalization.
“Making CBAS permanent fulfills the intent of those legislators, including me, who voted to eliminate ADHC, with the commitment to fight for community-based programs,” Yamada said in a news release. “A community-based alternative to institutionalization saves money and preserves independence.”