Disability Rights

A Call for Shared Sacrifice on Juvenile Corrections Budget

By Brian Heller de Leon
Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice

The Senate and Assembly Budget Subcommittees on Public Safety are being pressured to reconsider the Governor’s revised cost-saving proposal for the state’s youth correctional system, the Division of Juvenile Facilities (commonly referred to as DJJ). Law enforcement agencies are demanding that the Legislature reduce or eliminate the new $24,000 per ward fee structure, which was proposed by the Governor’s office in the May revised budget.  

This amount greatly contributes to the $24.8 million in cost savings that the proposed budget targets for the state’s youth prison system.  The figure already represents a significant reduction from the Governor’s January 2012-13 juvenile justice realignment proposal, which would have amounted to approximately $200 million in savings to the state over time.

How to Tax California’s One Percent

By Lenny Goldberg, California Tax Reform Association, and Roy Ulrich, Goldman School of Public Policy at U.C. Berkeley

Jerry Brown’s most recent budget proposal takes a meat ax to vital programs, including Medi-Cal and in home support services (IHHS). Why do we refer to them as “vital?” IHHS, for example, helps the disabled and seniors live safely in their own homes, thus obviating the need to place them in more costly outside facilities.

The governor’s plan represents the latest and worst in a spending cuts-only approach which California seems to specialize in. Reaping the benefits of this approach are the rich and powerful. The losers are those without high-priced lobbyists: the poor and the weak.

There are several potential revenue sources the rich and powerful have been able to avoid while other states, including a few very red ones, have seen fit to tap them.

Meaningful Legislation That Saw The Round File

By Sam Gold
National Organization of Injured Workers

Governor Brown has spoken and has vetoed some important bills that relate to Workers Compensation. Let’s see what he simply wouldn’t sign into law.

AB584 would force doctors who make Utilization review determinations to be licensed in California. Proponents of the bill believe that out-of-state utilization review physicians are making inappropriate decisions at least in part because there is no regulatory structure to hold them accountable to anyone.  The bill is intended to ensure that there is a regulatory oversight body – the California Medical Board – that can discipline a utilization review physician in the event the physician violates practice standards which in many cases deals with making false and misleading statements to deny an injured worker the benefits due him under state law.

The Plight of The Pregnant Worker

By Dick Meister

Dina Bakst of the Work and Family Legal Center reminds us of an important fact that few people seem to realize – that getting pregnant can cause a woman to lose her job, despite the laws banning employment discrimination against women and the disabled.

Bakst asked, in a recent New York Times column, that we imagine a woman who, seven months pregnant, was fired from her job as a cashier because she needed a few extra bathroom breaks.

That actually happened.  So did the firing of a pregnant worker from her retail job after she gave her supervisors a doctor's note asking that she not be required to do any heavy lifting or climbing of ladders during the month and a half before she went on maternity leave.

Brown Administration Will Implement Short-Term Delay In Medi-Cal Payments For Month of March

By Marty Omoto
California Disability Community Action Network

The Brown Administration announced yesterday that it will implement short-term payment delays of about 2 weeks to Medi-Cal institutional providers including long term care facilities, adult day health centers, and home health agencies, for reimbursements paid during the month of March, due to a temporary severe cash flow shortage that California is facing in the coming weeks. Some institutional providers are exempt from this delay and payments to Medi-Cal non-institutional providers, such as doctors, will not be held.

Brown Budget Released: Developmental Services and CalWORKS Face Huge Cuts

By Marty Omoto
California Disability Community Action Network
Governor Brown released his proposed 2012-2013 State Budget that calls for, as he previously announced in November, $157 million in new state general fund spending reductions to developmental services in the current budget year to be achieved in large part due to higher than expected savings from previously approved cuts and other changes, and another $200 million in new cuts in state general fund spending during the 2012-2013 State  budget year that begins July 1, 2012.

The cuts in the 2012-2013 State Budget year could - depending on where the reductions are made - swell to $400 million if federal matching funds are included.  

Brown Administration Implementing $623 Million Medi-Cal Provider Reductions

By Marty Omoto
California Disability Action Network
The Department of Health Care Services under the Brown Administration announced Friday that it is moving forward in implementing reductions in Medi-Cal provider payments of up to 10% that could total over $623 million in State general funds, that was authorized in the 2011-2012 State Budget.  The implementation of the reduction comes as the State faces still another huge budget deficit, projected at nearly $13 billion by the end of the 2012-2013 State Budget year unless the Governor and Legislature takes action to address it either through additional massive spending cuts or imposing new revenues - or a combination of both and other solutions.   

Temporary Restraining Order Issued To Stop 20% Reduction in In-Home Supportive Services

By Marty Omoto
California Disability Community Action Network

US District Court Judge Claudia Wilken issued a temporary restraining order yesterday that requires the Brown Administration to halt all actions to implement the 20% across-the-board cut in service hours for hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities, mental health needs, and seniors in the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program. The judge's order also requires the State to rescind any information, instructions and notices of action  to the counties and any IHSS recipients that it has sent out.

Dear Jerry: Stand Up for Injured Constituents

By Sam Gold
Injured Worker's Television Network
You recently vetoed some very important bills, specifically AB584 (Fong). This is a simple bill about law & order.  It requires that Utilization Review (UR) doctors be accountable. Currently, doctors who are hired by insurance carriers to perform UR can pretty much say anything that they want whether true or false and are accountable to no one for their acts and deeds.  Why do we need these doctors to review what our primary treating physicians prescribe for us? Is this the start of “Mother May I” medical care?

Yet their reviews are the basis for long delays and denials of medical care for our occupationally injured that supposedly are guaranteed immediate and responsible medical treatment under the laws of our state. It shouldn’t take a year to approve an MRI.  The fact is insurance companies are not in business to be compassionate care givers and pay claims, they exist for one purpose only, to close all open claims whenever, wherever and however possible!

Prop. 63 Improving Lives and Communities

By Patricia Ryan
California Mental Health Directors Association

The nation’s recession and resulting state budget crisis have strained every part of our safety net, and California’s community mental health system is no exception.  But as communities across the state acknowledged Mental Illness Awareness Week this October, they also recognized that the investments made through Proposition 63 (the Mental Health Services Act) have positioned California to better meet the mental health needs of people in our communities now and in the future, and to do it more cost-effectively.