Tweaking Laws for In-Home Supportive Services

Last year around this time, the state legislature adopted a budget trailer bill called ABX4 19 by Assembly member Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa), which required background checks for In-Home Supportive Services providers.

But there were some unintended consequences of that well-intentioned law, according to Assembly member Ted Lieu (D-Torrance).  Lieu hopes to fix a few details with his own bill, AB 1763, which is before the Senate Human Services Committee this week.

“Providers sometimes move from one county to another, or they have clients in multiple counties,” Lieu said. “The way the law’s written now, you may have to go through and pay for the same background check multiple times.”

The idea is that counties should have coordinated information — and not just to help the IHSS staffers, but to protect patients. If someone goes through a clean background check and then subsequently commits a crime and decides to move to another county, that information should also move to that county, Lieu said.

“We’re in the 21st century,” he said, “we should be able to do that.”

The bill has been given “urgency” status, which means that it becomes law as soon as the governor signs it, rather than next January. But urgency status has a steep price — the bill needs a two-thirds vote in both houses. It made it through the Assembly on a 54-22 vote.

Also on the Senate Human Services docket this week is AB 2274, which is a little more technical in nature. The bill by Assembly member Jim Beall (D-San Jose) makes certain that provider choice would apply under the new Medicaid waiver.

California, now at the end of a five-year federal waiver that changed the way government pays for treating Medi-Cal patients, is working with CMS on a new waiver. Beall’s proposal seeks to make sure aged, blind and disabled Medi-Cal patients living at home will still be able to choose who cares for them once the new waiver is in place.

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