Capitol Desk: Trigger Cuts to IHSS and Put on Hold

Friday, January 20, 2012

by David Gorn

Federal judge Claudia Wilken did not mince words yesterday when an attorney representing California asked her if she would issue a stay, to grant the state the right to start implementation of a proposed 20% cut in In-Home Supportive Services.

“No, I won’t stay it,” Wilken said of the temporary restraining order she issued last month. “The TRO is now the permanent injunction, … but it will be modified. It is appealable, as of now. But no, I’m not going to lift it.”

The injunction means that 370,000 Californians, mostly seniors, will continue to receive IHSS care, while the state appeals the decision.

Trigger cuts, ordered by the Legislature in June, go into effect if fiscal targets aren’t met. The IHSS trigger cuts were due to kick in Jan. 1.

The federal judge ordered the two sides to meet some time during the next two weeks to attempt to resolve some of their issues before Wilken issues the preliminary injunction wording in early March. Both sides seemed to balk at that idea.

“I’m certainly happy to talk to the state, but that may not be possible,” Stacey Leyton said. Leyton is an attorney for the Service Employees International Union, which helped bring the lawsuit along with Disability Rights California. She said the structure of the Legislature’s law doesn’t allow for much compromise.

During the hearing, Deputy Attorney General Nimrod Elias said the IHSS cuts took into account the frailty of many of its beneficiaries. “To a significant extent, the state has done that,” Elias said. “We exempted five types of beneficiaries. About 66,000 people are completely exempt. We said, let’s find the people who are the most at-risk, who couldn’t possibly absorb these cuts. And that’s what we did.”

To Leyton, the cuts were not made based on patients’ clinical needs, but on the state’s need to cut the budget.

“If the state felt … guidelines [to award hours of IHSS care] were not necessary, then they could alter that, or do an individualized needs-based reduction in hours,” Leyton said. “That would certainly be different than what’s being done here, which is just to save money.”

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One Response to “Capitol Desk: Trigger Cuts to IHSS and Put on Hold”
  1. Harry says:

    Great. Also let’s think about something NOBODY has mentioned yet. We need to fight to ensure IHSS does NOT deny hours for special cases where hospital staff are violating Penal Code 368, by failing to protect clients that are protective supervision cases. In these cases parents have had to personally guard and protect or privately send IHSS staff INTO hosptial to guard and protect them from being killed or neglected by hospital staff. This is a reality that seems to escape the minds of those in charge of cuts. Under no circumstance shall a IHSS recipient be expected to recevie sub-standard care in a hospital because of the failure of hospital to secure proper SITTER or NURSES to handle protective supervision of such IHSS client. Just because they leave home doesn’t mean they don’t need the same standard of care in any other setting, especially a setting that is unfamiliar and dangerous,w here they will be medicated or restrained against their will if someone isn’t there to PROTECT them. It works both ways baby. You don’t protect the patient and you are in violation of Penal Code 368 by knowing this IHSS client needs protection, and NOT allowing the IHSS caregivers to give this protection in an emergency out of home hospital setting. The IHSS worker should be allowed to provide this protection in this special circumstance.

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  • LAAAC is managed by St. Barnabas Senior Services; Funded, in part, by Archstone Foundation.
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