Assembly Budget Sub. 1 Holds Oversight Hearing on LTC at Home Proposal, SNF COVID-19 Response Activities

On Monday, the Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 1 on Health and Human Services convened an oversight hearing to examine the Newsom Administration’s Long-Term Care at Home proposal and skilled nursing facility (SNF) COVID-19 emergency response activities.

In opening remarks, Subcommittee Chair Assembly Member Joaquin Arambula urged the Newsom Administration to establish a public legislative process to consider and solicit input on the Long-Term Care at Home proposal. Assembly Member Arambula further discussed the importance of protecting vulnerable populations throughout the state, including older adults, and expressed the need to include the Legislature in these conversations. Other Assembly committee and subcommittee chairs, including Human Services Committee Chair Eloise Gómez Reyes, Budget Committee Chair Phil Ting, and Aging and Long-Term Care Committee Chair Adrin Nazarian additionally provided opening remarks.

The hearing featured a panel of Newsom Administration representatives, including the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) Director Will Lightbourne, California Department of Aging (CDA) Director Kim McCoy Wade, and the Department of Finance, to discuss the potential new benefit. Recall, the proposed benefit was initially rolled out as a way to decompress SNFs statewide amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Subcommittee members queried the Newsom Administration around the relationship of the LTC at Home proposal with other older adult-related programs (e.g., CBAS, MSSP, IHSS), the fiscal implications of the proposal, and aging-in-place services and supports. The hearing additionally featured stakeholders, including from the California Association of Public Authorities for IHSS and SEIU California, to discuss the state’s LTC at Home proposal. During the member question and answer component of the hearing, several Assembly members pressed Newsom Administration officials on the perceived lack of legislative consultation and transparency of the LTC at Home proposal and COVID-19 outbreaks in SNFs.

The second component of the hearing featured an examination of COVID-19 emergency response activities among SNFs throughout the state. Representatives from Justice in Aging, Independence at Home, the California Long Term Care Ombudsman Association, and the California Association of Health Facilities discussed experiences of SNFs in responding to and mitigating COVID-19 transmission risk in congregate living settings. Newsom Administration representatives from DHCS, CDA, and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) rounded out the discussion, detailing activities of the Administration in providing oversight of and supporting SNFs.

The hearing agenda and supplemental materials are available here. A video recording of the hearing is available here.