Calif. Home Care Program Avoids Deeper Cuts in New Settlement

California’s In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program has gotten a partial reprieve from proposed service cuts after the state announced a settlement for several related class action lawsuits. 

The state’s Department of Social Services director Will Lightbourne and Department of Health Care Services director Toby Douglas announced on Tuesday an agreement with the in-home care program’s beneficiaries and labor organizations that effectively resolves the disputes. 

Per the agreement, the IHSS program will still undergo a 3.6% reduction in services that was enacted in 2011, with an additional 4.4% reduction starting July 1, 2013 for a total of 8% in cuts.

However, 1% of that will be restored in the spring of 2014, with all cuts potentially repealed by the winter of 2015 if the federal government approves a healthcare provider fee, reports the Sacramento Business Journal

California had previously approved a 20% reduction in service cuts to the program, which would have saved the state about $180 million in the 2013-2014 fiscal year. The 8% service cut will amount to about $160 million in savings for the state, according to H.D. Palmer, a California Department of Finance spokesperson cited by the Business Journal. 

“Today’s agreement represents a significant compromise for all sides and preserves access to this important benefit,” said DHCS Director Toby Douglas in a statement. 

The IHSS program helps more than 400,000 low-income seniors and people with disabilities remain in their homes rather than move into more expensive institutional settings. Services include domestic and related care, such as assistance with laundry, shopping, cooking, and cleaning. 

Written by Alyssa Gerace

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