San Diego County Moves Forward with Public Authority for In-Home Caregivers
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday decided to "expedite the establishment of a public authority" to employ the county's approximately 13,000 in-home health care workers, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Creating a public authority for the county's in-home supportive services workers would enable caregivers to "negotiate as a group for higher wages and health benefits" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 2/14). A state law passed in 1999 requires the county to establish an "employer of record" for home-care workers by January 2003 and calls for the Board of Supervisors or a "separate entity that has a majority of nonpublic employees" as members to govern the program. Supportive services workers currently earn minimum wage and have been lobbying for the ordinance to be adopted immediately (Rother, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2/13). Although county administrators had recommended that the board postpone the ordinance for nine months to review its "complex ramifications," supervisors requested that staff bring the measure back in three to four months to coincide with deliberations on the county's Health and Human Services Agency budget. Despite the request, several supervisors warned that establishing an authority "would not guarantee pay raises" for in-home caregivers, adding that the county is currently searching for funding to provide health benefits and pay raises. San Diego's In-Home Supportive Services workers serve about 15,400 aged, blind or disabled low-income residents throughout the county (San Diego Union-Tribune, 2/14).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.