Welcome to the website of the Public Authority for In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) in Alameda County
The Public Authority is unique in that it is a public agency that provides services and advocacy that promote independent living and support high-quality homecare services for IHSS consumers and workers in Alameda County.
Our hope is that this website will inform you of the services and purpose of the Public Authority.
In the Spotlight
New IHSS Rules in 2014-2015 State Budget
The final 2014-2015 State Budget signed by the Governor includes language limiting IHSS providers to working a maximum of 61 hours per week. Other than allowing providers who work for the very small number of consumers still with 283 hours a month to work for 66 hours a week, there are no exceptions. Overtime hours will be paid at one and a half times the usual rate for hours worked between 40 and 61 (or 66) hours per week. A consumer's hour will be allocated on a weekly basis to help prevent them from exceeding the new limits. The weekly amount will be the current monthly total divided by 4.33. The consumer can shift hours from one week to another as long as the total stays under the 61 hour limit, and if that schedule results in additional OT, the IHSS social worker must give approval before the timesheet is submitted. These new rules will be effective January 1, 2015 and are intended to minimize the amount of overtime paid by the State. A new IHSS timesheet is being developed that will record total hours worked during the pay period and the travel time hours and include a prompt to not claim over 61 hours of work or over 7 hours of travel time in any Sunday thru Saturday week. Hours submitted exceeding the 61 and 7 hour/wek limits will be allowed January thru Martch 2015 but starting in April, the provider will be suspended from the IHSS program, possibly for 12 months, after three violations of the limit.
The same Federal law mandating overtime pay requires the IHSS program to pay for time spent attending the mandatory IHSS orientation and also for travel time when a worker travels directly from one job to another on the same day. The total of travel time and IHSS hours worked in a week cannot exceeed the 61 hour limit.
The cut in IHSS hours to 7% effective July 1, 2014 (from the prior 8% cut) is now scheduled to continue indefinitely.
Disability Rights California (www.disabilityrightsca.org) has a document that explains the new IHSS rules.
Bargaining with IHSS Unions To Move to SacramentoBy July 2016, the public authorities in 8 counties, including Alameda, no longer will be the employer of record for bargaining with the union representing the IHSS workforce in their county. The responsibility for bargaining wages and benefits will shift to a Statewide Authority in Sacramento. The current plan is for public authorities to continue to provide the services they do now: such as the Registry, training and administering health benefits for IHSS providers. Unions currently (mid-2014) have sponsored AB 485 which, if approved by the Legislature and signed by the Governor (which is unlikely) would move bargaining from all public authorities to the State effective January 2015.
Union Iniatives in 2014The mandatory training and automatic wage increase iniative sponsored by SEIU UHW did not gather enough signatures to qualify for the November 2014 ballot. If approved by the electorate, there would have been automatic pay raises for IHSS providers equal to any increase in the California minimum wage whenver the minimum wage increases (as it will January 2015 and 2016). The ballot measure would also require all IHSS workers (except those with medical certification) to take a 75 hour training for which they will be paid. SEIU UHW argues training is needed and will improve care. Those who oppose the Automatic Wage Increase and Mandatory Training argue that there is no identified source of funding (at least $250 million just to train currrent workers and $400 milion for a $1 pay raise) and that consumers do not need their worker to take 75 hours of training developed by the State since consumers train their workers, and addditional training is not necessary especially for the 70% of workers who care only for a family member or friend, and may have done so for many years. There have been some reports from Washington State that the mandatory training recently imposed there was a waste of time, took workers from their job, and was not specific to the care required by the consumer they serve.
Public Authority Advisory Board Seeking New MembersIf you are a current or former IHSS consumer living in Alameda County, or an IHSS provider for your family member, please consider applying to join our Advisory Board. We will soon be accepting applications for two IHSS Consumer positions, one 60 Years and Older and the other a Consumer Under 60, plus one Family Provider position and two Consumer Alternate positions. Our Advisory Board is know for its advocacy activities and mandated to make recommendations to improve the IHSS program and Public Authoriuty services. The Board is considered the best informed and most influential among all the public authorities in California. The Board meets on the first Thursday of each month (except August) at 1:30 PM. Members are paid $25 for attending each Advisory Board meeting and are reimbursed for actual expenses such as travel and additional attendant care at meetings). Please contact Charles Calavan, the executive director of the Public Authority, at 510 577-3548 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Options Under the the Affordable Care ActBeginning in 2014, the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires individuals to have health insurance or potentially pay a penalty for noncompliance. Individuals will be required to maintain minimum essential coverage for themselves and their dependents. Some individuals will be exempt from the mandate and the penalty, while others may receive financial assistance to help them pay for the cost of health insurance coverage and the costs associated with using health care services. For individuals who do not have health coverage, the penalty will start in 2014 at $95 per person or up to 1 percent of income. In 2015, the penalty increases to $325 per person or up to 2 percent of income. For 2016 and after, the penalty goes up to $695 per person or up to 2.5 percent of income. If you or your family members are uninsured and meet eligibility requirements, you may qualify for affordable health coverage. Health coverage can be obtained through Medi-Cal for low-income legal residents with incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty line — $15,282 for an individual or $31,322 for a family of four — regardless of whether they have children, disabilities or assets. Uninsured individuals and families are also able to obtain health coverage through Covered California and financial assistance is available on a sliding scale base to help pay for health insurance. Information about options to obtain health coverage is available at:
The Coordinated Care Initiative (Duals Managed Care Pilot)On August 1, 2014, the State announced that the start of enrollement into the CCI managed care pilot in Alameda County was moved to July 2015. In May 2014, the State announced it has appopinted a caretaker over the Alameda Alliance for Health, which is Alameda County's managed care program. This was done due to major fiscal problems at the Alliance. The announcment said that services and benefits will not be affected. However, this raises a question about the Alliance's ability to take on 39,000 additional plan members under a pilot program of managed care, the Coordinated Care Iniative (CCI). This pilot would enroll Alameda County residents who are "Duals" (eligible for both Medicare and Medi-Cal, which are now fee for service health care plans) into one of two managed care plans. Alameda is one of 8 California counties in the CCI, a three-year pilot. Those who do not want to receive and have their their Medicare services coordinated through the Alameda Alliance for Health or the Anthem Blue Cross managed care plans must “opt-out” by requesting to keep their Medicare services outside the CCI pilot. However, "Duals" who wish to continue to receive IHSS, MSSP, nursing home care, CBAS (adult day programs, now called Community-Based Adult Services), and other Long Term Support Services (LTSS) must enroll in one of the two managed care plans, which will provide and coordinate those services. The State claims that managed care plans will provide improved care coordination to members and significantly reduce the cost of health care.