The Legislature hereby finds and declares that there exists a pattern of overutilization of long-term institutional care for elderly persons, and that there is an urgent need to establish and to continue a community-based system of quality adult day health care which will enable elderly persons to maintain maximum independence. While recognizing that there continues to be a substantial need for facilities providing custodial care, overreliance on this type of care has proven to be a costly panacea in both financial and human terms, often traumatic, and destructive of continuing family relationships and the capacity for independent living.
It is, therefore, the intent of the Legislature in enacting this chapter and related provisions to provide for the development of policies and programs that will accomplish the following:
(a) Assure that elderly persons are not institutionalized inappropriately or prematurely.
(b) Provide a viable alternative to institutionalization for those elderly persons who are capable of living at home with the aid of appropriate health care or rehabilitative and social services.
(c) Establish adult day health centers in the community for this purpose, that will be easily accessible to all participants, including the economically disadvantaged elderly person, and that will provide outpatient health, rehabilitative, and social services necessary to permit the participants to maintain personal independence and lead meaningful lives.
(d) Include the services of adult day health centers as a benefit under the Medi-Cal Act, that shall be an initial and integral part in the development of an overall plan for a coordinated, comprehensive continuum of optional long-term care services based upon appropriate need.
(e) Establish a rural alternative adult day health care program designed to meet the special needs and requirements of rural areas to enable the implementation of subdivisions (a) through (d), inclusive, for all Californians in need of those services.
(f) Ensure that all laws, regulations, and procedures governing adult day health care be enforced equitably regardless of organizational sponsorship and that all program flexibility provisions be administered equitably.
(g) Support the role of the Adult Day Health Care Planning Council in ensuring accountability to the community and approving equitable distribution of adult day health care centers including the definition of service areas.
(Amended by Stats. 1994, Ch. 1121, Sec. 2.)