Dec. 16, 2003 --
New CA. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposals to cut services to people with disabilities has drawn protests and outrage from across the state. Thousands of disability rights advocates protested at the state Capitol last Wednesday; more protestors gathered in Los Angeles yesterday. (Read stories from KCRA TV and The Los Angeles Times (free registration required)).
One of the services slated for elimination is CA's In-Home Supportive Services residual program, which provides in-home services to people who are not eligible for the program under Medi-Cal (the state's Medicaid program.). This "Residual" program pays for domestic chores, and allows persons who have severe disabilities to receive advance payment to pay the providers. People using the Residual IHSS program "tend to be persons with the most severe disabilities, persons at particular risk for institutionalization because of the lack of alternative providers..... In-home care is clearly the more economical and desirable solution to attendant care needs," says California's Protection and Advocacy Agency. Read the office's "Analysis of and Opposition to Proposed Elimination of In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Residual Program" by going to http://www.pai-ca.org/BulletinBoard/ and clicking on the link; the analysis is a PDF file. To read the file in accessible format, you may go to the Adobe translator and paste in the following URL http://www.pai-ca.org/PublicAffairs/IHSSResidual.pdf. ) (The General Accounting Office reported in Oct. that in CA, as in other states reviewed, nursing home reimbursement rates remained steady. See http://www.accessiblesociety.org/topics/programs-policy/gaonhreimb1203.html; the full GAO report is online at http://www.gao.gov/atext/d04143.txt)
Meanwhile, PA Gov. Edward G. Rendell is ensuring that the state comply with the Olmstead decision by planning to offer in-home services as a routine Medicaid option. "The Secretary of Public Welfare Estelle Richman asked ADAPT of Pennsylvania for help in formulating a strategy to offer Medicaid patients currently in nursing homes and Medicaid eligible applicants seeking long term care services immediate access to home and community based services as an option," writes Kathleen Kleinmann of Tri County Patriots for Independent Living. The action plan developed, called the "Community Choice Project," has begun to be implemented and will expand statewide by July 2004. "In Pennsylvania, you will not have to go to a nursing facility as your only option for long-term care services." A press conference is planned for January. More on the program can be found at http://www.dimenet.com/hotnews/cgi/getlink.cgi?3539R
More about the Olmstead decision can be found at http://www.accessiblesociety.org/topics/ada/olmsteadoverview.htm