Federal Judge Continues To Block In-Home Supportive Services Cuts
On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken issued a preliminary injunction to continue to prevent the state from cutting In-Home Supportive Services care hours by 20%, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. IHSS provides services for the elderly and people who are blind or have disabilities.
The decision comes in response to a lawsuit filed by Disability Rights California and other groups.
On Dec. 1, 2011, Wilken issued a temporary restraining order to block California from notifying IHSS beneficiaries about possible cutbacks that would have taken effect this month as part of automatic, midyear budget cuts (Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/20). As part of the triggered cuts, the state aims to save $101.5 million by reducing hours by 20% and eliminating local anti-fraud funding forÂ IHSS (California Healthline, 12/14/11).
When Wilken issued the temporary restraining order, she questioned whether the cuts would violate law by forcing individuals to be institutionalized (San Francisco Chronicle, 1/20).
Details of Preliminary Injunction
On Thursday, Wilken converted the temporary restraining order to a preliminary injunction (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 1/20). The move is an indication that legal efforts to block the cuts are likely to succeed, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
Wilken said California cannot move forward with the cuts unless it assesses each beneficiary to determine whose hours can or cannot be adjusted (Richman, San Jose Mercury News, 1/19).
The preliminary injunction maintains current service levels while the case moves forward (San Francisco Chronicle, 1/20).
According to Melinda Bird -- senior counsel for Disability Rights California -- Wilken directed the parties involved in the case to reach a settlement (Megerian, Los Angeles Times, 1/20).
Michael Weston -- a spokesperson for the state Department of Social Services -- said the agency is reviewing the ruling to determine appropriate action (San Francisco Chronicle, 1/20).
H.D. Palmer -- a spokesperson for the state Department of Finance -- said the state plans to challenge the decision (Sacramento Bee, 1/20).
For additional coverage of Wilken's ruling, see today's Capitol Desk post.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.