CHA Opposes Elimination of Multipurpose Senior Services Program

CHA Opposes Elimination of Multipurpose Senior Services Program

California Health Advocates submitted the letter below in opposition of the Governor’s proposed elimination of the Multipurpose Senior Services Program (MSSP) in the State’s 2021 budget.

MSSP has a 40 year history of serving the oldest, poorest, and most frail Californians and their family caregivers, as an alternative to nursing home placement. Their services are more vital than ever given the COVID-19 pandemic’s devastating impact on older adults—one-third of COVID-19 deaths statewide and half of the deaths in Los Angeles County are nursing home residents. Keeping seniors at home is the safest place for them to live.

In addition, the total costs for MSSP patients are more than 45 percent LOWER than the cost of nursing facility placement. If just 18% of MSSP patients statewide (2,289) are placed in a nursing home, the entire “savings” from MSSP elimination is immediately wiped out. Federal and state studies show that MSSP lowers healthcare costs, helps patients access the right level of health care services at the right time to prevent more costly care.

MSSP is a proven, cost effective model of care both saving money for California while saving lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. Elimination of this program would be a costly mistake. Eliminating MSSP would put frail Californians at even greater at risk.

Read the full letter below.

_________________________________________________________________________

 

May 20, 2020

 

The Honorable Anthony Rendon
Speaker of the Assembly
California State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814

The Honorable Phil Ting, Chair
Assembly Committee on Budget
California State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814

The Honorable Joaquin Arambula, MD, Chair
Assembly Budget Subcommittee #1 on Health and Human Services
California State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814

The Honorable Toni Atkins
California Senate President Pro Tempore
California State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814

The Honorable Holly Mitchell, Chair
Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review
California State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814

The Honorable Richard Pan, MD, Chair
Senate Budget Subcommittee 3 on Health and Human Services
California State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814

 

SUBJECT: OPPOSE ELIMINATION OF MULTIPURPOSE SENIOR SERVICES PROGRAM (MSSP) IN 2021 STATE BUDGET

 

Dear Honorable Members;

 

California Health Advocates asks you to strongly oppose the elimination of the Multipurpose Senior Services Program (MSSP).

 

California Health Advocates (CHA), a non-profit organization founded in 1997, is the leading Medicare advocacy and educational voice for more than 6.2 million Medicare beneficiaries in California. Our members, the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Programs (HICAPs) serve every county across the state and continually deal with the population served by MSSP.

 

MSSP has a 40 year history of serving the oldest, poorest, and most frail Californians and their family caregivers, as an alternative to nursing home placement.

 

MSSP services are more vital than ever given the COVID-19 pandemic’s devastating impact on older adults—one-third of COVID-19 deaths statewide and half of the deaths in Los Angeles County are nursing home residents. Keeping seniors at home is the safest place for them to live.

 

MSSP provides clients with:

 

  • Coordination of healthcare including transportation to appointments, assistance making appointments, contacting and advocating to medical providers and health plans and getting prescriptions to ensure adherence with their plan of care.
  • Access to community benefits and resources, or in the absence of resources, purchasing to meet basic needs including appropriate nutrition and food resources, safety equipment, home modifications, medical supplies. It also makes IHSS work for them and purchases supplemental/gap filling care if needed.

 

Total costs for MSSP patients are more than 45 percent LOWER than the cost of nursing facility placement. If just 18% of MSSP patients statewide (2,289) are placed in a nursing home, the entire “savings” from MSSP elimination is immediately wiped out. Federal and state studies show that MSSP lowers healthcare costs, helps patients access the right level of health care services at the right time to prevent more costly care.

 

Additionally, elimination of MSSP would lead to at least 500 more Californians on unemployment and place the small businesses MSSP collaborates with in jeopardy.

 

MSSP is a proven, cost effective model of care both saving money for California while saving lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. Elimination of this program would be a costly mistake. Eliminating MSSP would put frail Californians at even greater at risk.

 

Sincerely,

Doug Shaw
Board Chair

 

CC: The Honorable Gavin Newsom, Governor of the State of California
Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary, California Health and Human Services Agency
Dr. Brad Gilbert, Director, Department of Health Care Services
The Honorable Members California State Senate
The Honorable Members California Assembly

Karen Fletcher
Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.

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