LAO: Proposed Cuts to In-Home Services Could Face Challenges in Court
Gov. Jerry Brown's (D) proposal to reduce state spending on services for elderly residents and those with disabilities could face legal challenges, according to a new report by the Legislative Analyst's Office, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Details of Proposed Cuts
Brown's budget plan would cut spending on the In-Home Supportive Services program by 43%. The state would impose the spending reductions by:
- Cutting hours of care for all program beneficiaries by about 8%;
- Eliminating all domestic service hours for beneficiaries who live with another person; and
- Requiring beneficiaries to obtain a physician's certificate stating that they would need institutionalized care if they lost in-home services.
Beneficiaries who fail to obtain such certification would be dropped from the program.
Possible Legal Challenges
The LAO report questioned Brown's proposal to require physician recommendations for all IHSS beneficiaries. It suggested that state lawmakers develop a process to allow exceptions for "supplemental care" for vulnerable beneficiaries.
The report also noted that the proposal to cut domestic services for beneficiaries who live with another person could face legal challenges.
Ginni Bella Navarre, a social services analyst for LAO, said, "Any time services are reduced or limited, we have to think about whether this puts recipients at risk of being institutionalized."
In the past, California has faced numerous lawsuits over its cuts to health and social service programs.
During former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) administration, federal judges blocked more than $600 million in IHSS cuts. Judges also prevented permanent IHSS eligibility changes from taking effect.
H.D. Palmer, spokesperson for the state Department of Finance, said experts in Brown's administration are studying strategies to avoid being sued over the latest planned cuts (Ferriss, Sacramento Bee, 1/28).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.