The countdown to cuts is on. On March 1, the Baker Administration will begin cutting as much as $5.6 million from the Adult Foster Care program. The cuts will continue through the last four months of the fiscal year.
“We are running out of time to protect the elderly and people with disabilities,” said Linda Andrade of the Mass Council on Adult Foster Care. “Adult Foster Care is one of the premier ‘community first’ programs in the Commonwealth. The population in need is growing, and our budget should be growing to meet that need.”
Next year, the program could lose as much as $22.6 million.
Adult Foster Care is a program that allows elderly and disabled people to move in with a host family that provides 24/7 support. The average cost per client is less than $21,000 a year. Comparable round-the-clock support at a nursing facility can cost up to four or five times more.
“Community programs like this one make programmatic sense and financial sense,” noted Al Norman of Mass Home Care. “It just makes no sense to cut back community programs that help keep people out of costlier institutions.”
“Individuals with disabilities want to live in a home, in the community,” added Gary Blumenthal, CEO of the Association of Developmental Disabilities Providers. “Adult Foster Care is one of the few round-the-clock care programs that takes place in a home setting. That is why consumers are attracted to it.”
Governor Baker used his executive powers to make $5.6 million in 9C cuts to this MassHealth service for low-income individuals. These cuts amount to a 9-percent rate cut for providers. The cuts will undermine the program and can harm those who receive Adult Foster Care services and support, including caregivers who receive visits and oversight.
Andrade, Norman and Blumenthal agreed that the Adult Foster Care program is on the verge of a crisis. Adult Foster Care providers have indicated that sizeable funding reductions to their individual programs may make this innovative cost-saving program impossible to operate.
“It is imperative that the governor rescind this 9C reduction or that the Legislature overturn this reduction in a FY 17 Supplemental Budget appropriation,” concluded Al Norman.