SACRAMENTO – Legislation that would make the Community Based Adult Services (CBAS) program permanent in California is now in the California Senate.
AB 518, authored by Assemblymember Mariko Yamada (D–Davis), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care, and Bob Blumenfield (D-San Fernando Valley), Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, earned unanimous support on the Assembly Floor this week.
The CBAS program, which replaced California’s Adult Day Health Care program (ADHC), offers seniors and persons 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 re-building 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 (ADHC) program. The settlement agreement expires in June of 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 legislation, AB 518 , is intended to provide stability for CBAS by removing it from the uncertainties of the courts and establishing it as a permanent program in state law.
The Legislature agreed to eliminate ADHC 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 when that alternate program was vetoed by Governor Brown, leaving seniors and persons 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. “A community-based alternative to institutionalization saves money and preserves independence."
The bill Assemblymember Yamada represents the 4th Assembly District, which includes all or parts of Colusa, Lake, Napa, Solano, Sonoma and Yolo counties.