IN-HOME CARE: Demonstrators Urge Wilson To Sign Bill
Over 100 elderly residents, disabled individuals and in-home care workers gathered in Los Angeles yesterday in support of more funding for in-home nursing care, the Los Angeles Times reports (8/14). The San Francisco Chronicle notes demonstrations were also held in San Francisco, Sacramento and San Jose in an attempt to pressure Gov. Pete Wilson to sign a $25 million bill to provide a salary increase for in-home nursing care workers. State Assemblyman Mike Honda (D-San Jose), who sponsored the bill, said, "I'm hoping he won't veto it. This is an issue of choice and dignity. ... I'm hoping he will look at this issue in those human terms." The current in-home care program costs are much lower than institutional care costs. The program was "created in an attempt to allow disabled and elderly people to remain at home instead of being placed in a nursing home or other institution," the Chronicle reports (Lucas, 8/14). "Without the additional funding, many patients will go without essential care," wheelchair-bound activist Nancy Becker said. "In-home care is a way for people to maintain their dignity -- and it's more cost-effective than nursing homes," she added (Times, 8/14).
The Gov's Gripe
Wilson objects to the bill because he believes it "reneges on a 1992 deal that allowed counties to create what are known as public authorities to supervise in-home care," the Chronicle reports. Historically, the county welfare directors have played that role, and still do "in the 52 counties that have not created public authorities." The authorities' purpose is two-fold: to "coordinat[e] in-home care within the county," and shield the county from direct employer liability. That situation was agreeable to the governor "only as long as the state's share of in-home care costs is limited to the minimum wage for workers" (Chronicle, 8/14). The Los Angeles Times reports that a spokesperson for Wilson "said the governor is reviewing the budget and its accompanying bills, but that it was premature to say whether he would approve or reject the in-home care bill" (8/14).