California Counties Blast State for Roll Out of New IHSS Program Changes
County officials and state legislative leaders are gearing up to confront the Department of Social Services over its role in implementing new regulations for the In-Home Supportive Services program, Capitol Weekly reports.
Last summer, California lawmakers approved new rules limiting how counties could use IHSS grants from the state. The changes were intended to make the program more cost-effective and efficient.
The state also allocated $21.8 million for counties to implement the new rules.
Of those funds, DSS distributed only $5.8 million by Oct. 14, 2009, which was less than three weeks before the implementation deadline, according to Assembly Budget Committee Chair Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa).
County officials say DSS' inefficient handling of the regulations put counties in a tight time crunch to carry out the changes.
At least 19 counties have sent letters to DSS claiming that the department enacted the new rules too hastily and without proper training for the counties. Local officials say the state did not disseminate new forms, regulations or training videos until two months after the budget deal.
In response, DSS spokesperson Lizelda Lopez said the department produced the new materials after holding several informal and formal meetings with county contacts.
Today, the Legislative Analyst's Office is expected to release a report on the costs and benefits of the IHSS program.Next Wednesday, the Assembly Budget Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on the recent IHSS changes (Maclachlan, Capitol Weekly, 1/21). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.