Hank Sims did a good job summarizing Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed 2011-2012 California budget last week in "Golden Boy." I did not read Sims' piece with the same "detached, ironic cool" in which Brown delivered this news to Californians and the legislators. I am particularity alarmed with a budget that has "slashed funding for the medical care of the poor." Disclosure here: I have worked for the Humboldt Senior Resource Center for almost 22 years, and I am a senior.
In the last three years our agency has lost state funds to provide respite to family members caring for their loved ones at home, funding to provide community members information and support related to Alzheimer's education and support groups, a care management program for disabled community members known as Linkages and funding for our ombudsman program. Our Adult Day Health Care Services program has been on the budget elimination list and still is. A second care management program, the Multipurpose Senior Services Program (MSSP), which helps the most frail and elderly remain at home and avoid placement at local nursing facilities, is back on the elimination list with Brown's proposal. Mad River Adult Day Health is also on this list, though we do not operate this program.
Hundreds of frail, disabled people in our community will be significantly affected if these cuts become a reality, and statewide the number will be over 49,000 for care management (MSSP) and Adult Day Health Services. Brown's budget cuts other Medi-Cal benefits and various support services that seniors rely on to remain in their homes.
If Brown was the person who had to make a home visit to tell a 68-year-old daughter that her mother can no longer attend a day care program to help address her advancing Alzheimer's disease, that her mother's In Home Support Services will be further reduced and that all visits from a nurse care manager to help the daughter coordinate her mother's care at home will end, I hope he would think hard about the impact of this proposal. We also know that the potential cost of placing people in nursing homes far exceeds keeping people in their communities.
Our community has been generous with its support of all the services our agency provides, but this alone will not allow us to continue the services proposed for elimination in Brown's budget.
Our agency operates under this statement: "Seniors and their caregivers in Humboldt County will have a high quality life with dignity and self determination in a community of respect and tolerance." California may be monumentally broken, but I can't believe that harming the most frail among us is the only politically feasible fix.
Nancy Corral, Eureka