SACRAMENTO, CA – Governor Newsom’s May revision of his January budget proposal is a dire response to the massive impacts our state has experienced due to COVID-19. Due to the leadership of our governor, our state is closer than ever to reopening, however, these proposed cuts to key programs will devastate and disrupt the same vulnerable Californians our state stay home order was designed to protect.
This budget proposes cuts that will most certainly harm individuals with Alzheimer’s, and disproportionately impact diverse communities who experience the disease at much higher rates. Taken as a whole, these cuts will put new pressure on families, overwhelm skilled nursing facilities, increase emergency room usage, impede physicians looking for dignified care solutions for patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and leave many more individuals living with the disease with absolutely no care options. These cuts include the reduction of In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) service, significant cuts to California’s Department of Aging, cuts to the caregiver resource centers, the wholesale elimination of the multipurpose senior services program (MSSP), and most disappointingly the unconscionable elimination of community-based adult services (CBAS). This service in particular is a bedrock program in the continuum of care that individuals with dementia crucially depend on.
In this critical moment, we should look to our past to understand where we must go. For many Californians, this proposed elimination to CBAS is unfortunate but familiar. The same cuts were proposed during our last state recession. These programs – and these 36,000 lives, cannot always be the first ones on the chopping block. Today, these cuts absolutely cannot be made. The Alzheimer’s Association has been proud to partner in California’s recent endeavors to invest in and reimagine the Long-Term Services and Supports safety net that CBAS is a critical part of, through the work of our statewide Master Plan for Aging and the Governor’s Alzheimer’s Prevention and Preparedness Task Force. The Governor’s budget proposal is an important reminder that this work is more valuable than ever as we work to envision a state that truly prioritizes its oldest residents by building a safety net that is secure and sustainable.
We hope that Governor Newsom, and our legislature, can see the error of these cuts. Budgets are statements of value, and thus we hope that the lives of older Californians, and those with dementia, are treated with the same value as all of our state’s diverse, vulnerable populations. While the challenges created by COVID-19 are unprecedented, they are not unlike many of the critical moments our state has experienced; the Alzheimer’s Association firmly believes that our state has the capacity to fully meet the challenges of today. We look forward to working with our Governor and state legislators to address these challenges.
The Alzheimer's Association leads the way to end Alzheimer's and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's and all other dementia.™ For more information, visit www.alz.org or call the 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900.