Order Temporarily Halts State Ban Against Hiring Ex-Felons for IHSS Care
Last week, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch issued a temporary restraining order barring the state from excluding people with felony records from working as caregivers in California's In-Home Supportive Services program, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The order prohibits the state from enforcing the restrictions until Jan. 29, 2010, when Roesch will hold a hearing about a possible injunction.
On Nov. 1, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) enacted new regulations that prohibited the IHSS program from employing caregivers that had prior felony convictions of any type or misdemeanor charges involving child abuse.
The governor's rules were designed to improve program safety for IHSS participants. The regulations would not have reduced state spending on the program.
Seven care providers challenged the new rules by arguing that state law only bars IHSS from employing caregivers that received a conviction for a specific felony involving child abuse, elder abuse or fraud within the previous 10 years.
Peter Sheehan, an attorney for the workers, said the governor's new exclusion is overly broad and could prevent many people from serving as care providers for their relatives.
Previous IHSS Court Action
The ruling is the latest of several recent court actions blocking state changes to the in-home care program.
In June, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken barred the state from reducing its contribution to IHSS workers' wages by $2 per hour.
Wilken in October blocked another cost-cutting measure that would have dropped 36,000 IHSS participants from the program and reduced services for 97,000 (Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, 12/2).
Sacramento County IHSS Workers Rally Against Cuts
In related news, Sacramento County IHSS workers are lobbying local officials to refrain from cutting caregiver wages during the current round of contract negotiations.The county is considering reducing IHSS worker paychecks after supplemental funding from the federal economic stimulus law runs out on Dec. 31, 2010 (Lewis, Sacramento Bee, 12/2). 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.