California delays in-home care cuts

This news was circulated by the CA Foundation of Independent Living Centers. to join theirs lists, see below.

By Susan Ferriss

Published: Thursday, Aug. 20, 2009 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

The California Department of Social Services announced Wednesday that it cannot meet a Sept. 1 deadline requiring it drop or cut aid for more than 100,000 people enrolled in the state’s In-Home Supportive Services program.

The announcement – sent to counties that administer the program – was issued a few days after advocates requested that the state delay axing services.

Some of the cuts were approved by the Legislature to solve the budget crisis. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger used his line-item veto to add more cuts.

In a letter, advocates said the state still had not clearly instructed counties how to impose the cuts and had not informed any IHSS recipients they were on the list to be dropped or have care reduced.

“Absent these essential services, many of the people subject to the cuts will be at risk of institutionalization – or worse, severe injury or death,” said the letter from California Foundationfor Independent Living Centers and other groups.

The state has estimated it would save $82.1 million between Sept. 1 and next June by dropping some recipients and cutting some services. For each month of delay, the state will lose $8 million in savings, said Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer.

Social services spokeswoman Lizelda Lopez said the department decided to delay the because of concerns “brought to the department’s attention by a number of interested parties.”

“We need more time” to come up with instructions for counties and adjust the caregiver payroll system, she said.

The IHSS program, funded by federal, state and county money, pays caregivers to help low-income elderly and disabled people whose needs range from intimate personal care to laundry, shopping and help with medications.

Teresa Favuzzi, executive director of the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers, said most IHSS recipients have no idea whether they are candidates for being dropped from the program.

A standard ranking system that social workers use to determine what care recipients merit will serve as the basis for those decisions.

In Marin County, Herschel Ferguson’s caregiver cleans house, does laundry and helps him with other tasks two days a week for a total of 30 hours a month. A local disability rights group told Ferguson, 65, that he’s likely to lose that help.

Ferguson can walk, but he can’t use one arm or read, and he suffers from short-and long-term memory loss.

A serious infection put him into a three-month coma six years ago, and he now gets by on disability payments and with help from the local Center for Independent Living.

Teresa Favuzzi, MSW
California Foundation for Independent Living Centers
1029 J Street, Suite 120
Sacramento, CA 95814

(916) 325-1690 x 313
(916) 325-1695 TDD
(916) 325-1699 FAX
(916) 832-6233 Cell

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2 thoughts on “California delays in-home care cuts”

    1. There is an appeal process that everyone is being urged to take. Please see related info on this blog, upcoming workshops on how to appeal cuts to IHSS services.

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