It came down to the wire, but Daylight Adult Day Health Care Center in Glendale will remain open and continue serving hundreds of low-income clients after its network reached a settlement with the state over Medi-Cal payments.
Without the settlement — reached after advocates for the disabled and elderly filed a court motion this summer seeking to prevent planned funding cuts — Daylight and other centers that are part of the state's Adult Day Health Care program would have closed on Dec. 1 because they would no longer have been eligible for Medi-Cal benefits.
Daylight, which is part of a corporation with 300 facilities throughout California, had already notified state officials that it would lay off its 50 employees on Nov. 30.
The state Legislature voted last year to eliminate the current adult health-care program as an optional Medi-Cal benefit. A motion to stop the action was filed in June on behalf of the 35,000 clients who are enrolled in the program.
Daylight's program director, Karina Markosian, said the settlement reached last week lets the facility remain open until a new assistance system called Community-Based Adult Services is launched in March.
About half of those currently enrolled will qualify for the new program, said Norman Williams, spokesman for the California Department of Health Care Services.
Those who will no longer be eligible can still receive health-care services through a managed care plan with a primary physician, he added.
The new arrangement will save the state $28 million this fiscal year and $92 million in 2012-13, Williams said.
Daylight provides physical therapy, health screenings and counseling to people with dementia, heart problems and mobility issues. The large facility in the 900 block of Colorado Street is sectioned off by language — Spanish, Armenian and Thai.
Patients who use Daylight were elated to hear of the settlement.
“In one word — happiness,” said 90-year-old Eranouri Mkrtichian, who has been going to the center since it opened 12 years ago.
Mkrtichian — who spoke through a translator Wednesday — said she decided to enroll after her husband died. She enjoys living independently, but the solitude can be overwhelming.
“I live alone, but I get lonely,” she said.
Shooshik Carapetian, 86, visits the center three times a week for regular health screenings. Nurses take her blood pressure and let her know if she needs to take an additional dosage of medication.
“I couldn't do that on my own,” she said.
The new program will focus on the most sick and frail, Williams said, and a new set of criteria has been established to identify them. Assessments of everyone in the existing program will begin soon.
Markosian said that because Daylight already has a license and is in good standing, it will likely be accepted into the new program.