Washington State Case Could Carry Implications for California IHSS Cuts
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has ruled that states cannot cut in-home care services for the elderly and individuals with disabilities if there is a significant risk that they would be institutionalized without the care, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The ruling is from a Washington state case where lawmakers sought to reduce in-home care hours by 10% for about 45,000 residents in February (Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, 12/20).
Background on California Issue
Earlier this month, U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken issued a temporary restraining order to stop California from sending out notices of possible cuts toÂ the In-Home Supportive Services program. IHSS provides services for the elderly and people who are blind or have disabilities.
The decision came in response to a lawsuit filed by Disability Rights California and other groups (California Healthline, 12/5).
Last week, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) announced that an additional $980 million in state budget cuts will be triggered automatically because state revenue has fallen below budget projections. The cuts in part aim to save $101.5 million by reducing IHSS hours by 20% and eliminating local anti-fraud funding for the program (California Healthline, 12/14).
Implications forÂ California
The case in Washington state resembles California's situation, which would affect about 372,000 IHSS beneficiaries. In the case involving Washington state, the court said the plaintiffs demonstrated that the loss of services would force them to be institutionalized in the near future or over time.
Stacey Leyton -- an attorney involved in the case -- said, "The Ninth Circuit's conclusion that loss of hours of home care services exacerbates people's risk of involuntary institutionalization is very relevant to the case in California."
Wilken has scheduled a hearing on the IHSS case for Jan. 19 (San Francisco Chronicle, 12/20).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.