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June 10, 2011

State slapped with suit over elimination of Adult Day Health Care

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SAN DIEGO — A federal lawsuit has been filed to block the state from eliminating funding for adult day health care centers. The suit says tens of thousands of seniors and the disabled will be displaced if the centers have to close.

The group Disability Rights California filed the suit on behalf of 35,000 clients on Medi-Cal. The class-action suit says the state can't eliminate funding for adult day health care without ensuring that people won't be harmed.

Mark Woodruff is program director at Casa Pacifica in South San Diego. He said many of his 150 clients are worried about what might happen to them.

"I get asked by patients every day now," Woodruff said, "especially my psychiatric 30-year-old schizophrenics, who have been on the street. And the only thing I can tell them is we may close."

The legislature is scheduled to vote next week on a budget that would restore half of the funding for adult day health care centers. But even if it passes, there's no guarantee the governor will sign it.

There are some 320 centers statewide. Since March, at least six have had to close their doors.