Many Newly Approved In-Home Care Changes Stem From SEIU Memo
Several recently approved changes to California's In-Home Supportive Services program stemmed from recommendations proposed by the Service Employees International Union, the Sacramento Bee reports.
IHSS is a $5.8 billion program that relies on county, state and federal funds to provide in-home services to about 440,000 low-income elderly Californians and residents with disabilities.
Governor's Budget Proposals
As part of his budget plan for the next fiscal year, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) proposed reducing state spending by $365 million by scaling back IHSS services and eliminating paid domestic services provided by live-in caregivers.
The Legislature opted to forgo those recommendations in budget legislation approved last month. However, lawmakers approved Brown's proposals to:
- Reduce state spending by $1.4 million by allowing counties to terminate IHSS advisory panels; and
- Require a licensed health professional to certify that an individual needs in-home services.
The Legislature also incorporated several ideas included in an SEIU memo titled, "IHSS: Alternatives to Proposed Cuts." Some of the SEIU-backed proposals adopted by the Legislature include:
- Assuming IHSS would have fewer beneficiaries than estimated by the Department of Finance, which would lower program spending by $80 million;
- Establishing a pilot project to install automated medication dispensers in some patients' homes to reduce spending by an estimated $140 million; and
- Relying on $128 million in federal funding from the "Community First Choice" program created under the federal health reform law.
Assembly Budget Committee Chair Bob Blumenfield (D-Woodland Hills) said it was appropriate for the Legislature to follow some of SEIU's recommendations. Blumenfield said the union is "a major stakeholder" in IHSS, adding, "Who knows that program better than they do? If they're able to propose ways to get to the savings that make sense, of course we're going to listen to them" (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 4/16).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.