California’s New Budget Provides Increased Funding for In-Home Support Services (IHSS), Adult Protective Services (APS) training, Alzheimer’s, Long-Term Care Ombudsman and more

S.E. Williams | Contributor

Advocates from all areas of aging services were largely satisfied with the final 2019-2020 budget agreement reached by the Legislative Budget Conference Committee and signed by Governor Newsom on June 27, 2019, it included many of their requests.

Before the budget was finalized however, though most were cautiously optimistic, many were somewhat concerned the governor might use his line-item veto to take away funding from some programs many believe are essential to the well-being of California’s growing number of seniors and others.

According to the Public Policy Center, the state’s senior population is exploding. The number of seniors is growing rapidly and that growth will continue through 2030 as more and more baby boomers turn 65 every day.

The state senior population will also be more diverse, many are expected to be single and/or childless, and with continued breakthroughs in medicine many are living longer. Experts project by 2030 more than one million seniors will need some assistance with self-care and the need for nursing care will also increase.

To proactively facilitate a statewide effort to better address this growing demand for services, the 2019-2020 budget provides increased funding to support several key initiatives and programs as follows:

  • $873,000 for six positions dedicated to the Governor’s Master Plan on Aging, the Alzheimer’s Prevention and Preparedness Task Force, and the Single Payer Commission;
  • $3 million for Alzheimer’s Research and to administer the Alzheimer’s Prevention and Preparedness Task Force;
  • Two years’ restoration of the 7% service hour reduction for IHSS recipients;
  • A one-time cost-of-living increase for SSI/SSP recipients;
  • Elimination of the SSI/SSP cash-out, making SSI/SSP recipients permanently eligible for CalFresh benefits;
  • Permanent restoration of optional Medi-Cal benefits, including optical, audiology, incontinence supplies, podiatry and speech therapy;
  • $4.25 million for the Aging & Disability Resource Connection program;
  • $5.75 million over three years to support training for Adult Protective Service social workers and Public Administrator/Public Guardian/Public Conservators.
  • $10 million to develop the Alzheimer’s Healthy Brain Initiative public health infrastructure;
  • $1 million for the California Aging & Disability Alliance’s actuarial study of long-term care insurance options;
  • $4.2 million for the Long-Term Care Ombudsman in 2019-2020 and $5.2 million annually thereafter and $1 million from the Skilled Nursing Facilities Citation Penalties Account;
  • $14.8 million to stabilize reimbursement rates for the Multipurpose Senior Service Program;
  • $30 million for the Caregiver Resource Centers;
  • $4.6 million for fall prevention;
  • $13.7 million ongoing to increase reimbursement rates for the Community Based Adult Services adult day program;
  • $17.5 million to increase senior nutrition annually.
  • $62.4 million to raise Medi-Cal eligibility to 138% of poverty for the Aged and Disabled Medi-Cal program;
  • $300,000 ongoing for the California Senior Legislature.

In addition, and in response to recommendations of the California Future Health Workforce Commission, the budget also includes $300 million to address the state’s health care workforce shortage.