State budget cuts put the squeeze on Medi-Cal patients - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

State budget cuts put the squeeze on Medi-Cal patients

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(CBS 8) El Cajon - Governor Jerry Brown is calling for 12.5 billion dollars in spending cuts, slashing everything from welfare and social services, to health care and higher education. The biggest chunk, 1.7 billion dollars, is being cut from Medi-Cal, which services the state's low income and disabled population.

Adult Day Health Care Programs would be eliminated under the proposal, which would impact those who use the Western Adult Day Health Care Center in El Cajon. The facility's administrator, Darlene Wade, tells CBS8, "We are a day care program for the frail, elderly and disabled adults. They come to us because their doctor has determined they have a physical, mental or psychology impairment that without our services, they would end up in an institution."  The center serves about 50 people a day. Wade says, "We pick them up in the morning , they spend the day with us, they have nurses that check them out for vital signs. They participate in physical therapy, lots of different kinds of exercises. They lift weights, we pump iron."

It's estimated Governor Brown's proposal to eliminate Adult Day Health Care Programs will save $193 million, but Wade believes cutting programs like hers will end up costing the state much more than it saves.  She says, "If they develop a small illness or infection and no one catches it, and they don't have access to transportation, maybe that bronchitis or cough ends up in full fledge pneumonia. We find it when it's early on, which means it's cheaper to treat and easier to fix and all of that saves the government money."

Wade is hoping legislators reconsider the elimination of these types of facilities. She says, "I understand the choices are ugly for the state of California, but the people we deal with are those who have been contributors to our state, to our nation. A lot of the men coming here are veterans. They have war stories you and I don't even want to think about, and now when times are difficult, and living in California is rough, it's a shame that at that time in your life you can't count on the government or the state of California to help you get through those times.

Other proposed Medi-Cal cuts include a cap on doctor visits to 10 per year, a $5 co-pay for doctor's office visits, prescription drugs limited to six per month, and payments to doctors, pharmacies and clinics reduced by 10 percent.  

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