State Costs Increase for Home Care Program
Enrollment in the In-Home Supportive Services program has increased by about 70,000 over the past three years to 375,000, contributing to higher costs to the state for the program, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The program provides salaries for workers to assist low-income residents with disabilities and low-income elderly residents, so they can live outside of nursing homes or other institutions. Federal funds account for about half of the program's budget, and state and local governments provide the remainder.
The state's contribution to the program has increased by about 14% to $1.4 billion over the past two years, and the Legislative Analyst's Office projects that state costs will increase by 60% over the next five years.
The analyst's office attributes part of the higher state costs to increases in the average number of hours for which IHSS beneficiaries require care and higher wages for IHSS workers. The state caps the number of care hours for which beneficiaries can receive care to 283 monthly.
Eva Lopez, deputy director of adult care programs in the Department of Social Services, said a state quality assurance program to help determine how much assistance a patient needs is helping to slow the program's growth rate (Benson, Sacramento Bee, 11/19).