County Opposes Governor’s Proposal Over IHSS Program Funding
By Mario Conde
The Imperial County Board of Supervisors opposes Governor Jerry Brown’s proposal to cease operation of the Coordinated Care Initiative and undo the In-Home Supportive Services Maintenance of Effort.
The County Board of Supervisors approved a letter to Senator Holly Mitchell, Chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee, opposing the elimination of this program. The Coordinated Care Initiative and its associated components were created by legislation in 2012. Subsequent legislation, required the Department of Finance Director to perform an annual calculation regarding the costs and savings related to the CCI, and to end the CCI should the state cost exceed savings, with notification within the Governor’s January Proposal.
On January 10, 2017, the DOF announced that pursuant to his calculations, CCI costs exceeded state savings by $42.4 million, thereby triggering the unwinding of the CCI and dismantling the In-Home Supportive Services Maintenance of Effort.
In response to this action, Imperial County must now determine how we will absorb new state imposed costs on top of normal program growth to include: 7% restoration of hours for IHSS recipients; new federal overtime regulations, minimum wage increases up to $15 per hour by 2022, and the extension of three paid sick-leave days. This decision will shift more than $24.2 million in new IHSS cost over the next six years to Imperial County.
The DOF believes the County has enough revenue to absorb these costs from its allocation of 1991 Realignment Funding from the state. In the event of a recession or changes to health or human service programs, such as the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, the gap between needs and revenues would increase tremendously.
“The magnitude of the cost shift also threatens county General Fund spending, most of which is currently applied to public safety and maintenance of local streets and roads, among other state and local priorities.” CEO Ralph Cordova said.
Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia said that the budget he presented is the starting point of a conversation of concerns and proposals that the legislature will negotiate with the governor. In regards to the In-Home Support Services, Garcia said that the program is very important in the Imperial Valley and mentioned that last year they increased some of the investments they did in those programs and now they are in a situation they may have to pull back. The possible repeal of Obamacare will have a huge impact on the California budget according to Assemblyman Garcia and added that they will have prioritize in the healthcare arena what is the most important and valuable based on the resources they have.
“Those will be difficult conversation we will have with the Home Care and with our County agencies but they are part of the overall discussion of losing healthcare benefits that come out of the Affordable Care Act.” Garcia said.