A two-house state legislative conference committee Thursday voted to slash spending on California’s $185 million Adult Day Health Care program in half.

Nonetheless, backers of the program that provides daytime health care to 37,000 California adults each year have declared victory because Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed killing the program altogether to help offset a $25.4 billion budget deficit.

“We are grateful to lawmakers for saving Adult Day Health Care in a new redesigned form,” said California Association for Adult Day Services Executive Director Lydia Missaelides, “and recognize the hard work ahead to balance a 50 percent cut in funding with the needs of those currently in the care of our members.”

The association had waged a strong campaign to keep the program alive, including television ads and its own suggested financial cuts.

It argued adult day health care saves the state money because family members can work instead of staying home to care for relatives who can’t fully care for themselves. In addition, it said some adults now attending the day care programs might wind up in more expensive nursing homes if the program was eliminated.

State officials and health care providers still need to work out details of how the revamped program will operate.

As the legislative conference committee prepared a budget that could go to both houses of the Legislature next week, California Healthline reported lawmakers turned down Brown’s plan to limit physician visits by Medi-Cal patients to 10 a year.

Instead, they approved a “soft cap” of seven annual visits that could be waived if patients obtain physician certification stating that additional visits are necessary.

The conferees also voted to:

  • Cut $486 million from the state’s In-Home Supportive Services program, partly by requiring certification that the in-home care is needed;
  • Cut an additional $50 million from services for residents with developmental disabilities, on top of the $527 million in cuts already agreed upon
  • Reduce grant levels for the state’s CalWORKS welfare-to-work program by 8 percent, instead of the 13 percent reduction proposed by Brown.

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