Sunday, March 29, 2015

Don’t cap hours for in-home caregivers

By Mariko Yamada

Rural Californians face challenges that differ from residents in urbanized areas. Along with beautiful views and wide-open spaces come limits in public transportation, fewer jobs and less access to health care providers.

Contained in Gov. Jerry Brown’s January proposed budget is an item that deals another blow to senior citizens and people with disabilities, especially in rural areas. This proposal should be rejected. Here’s why:

Circumventing a recent federal ruling that brought the state’s In-Home Supportive Services caregivers under the same overtime pay rules that govern nearly every other industry, Gov. Brown has proposed prohibiting this low-wage workforce from working more than 40 hours in a week. The limit would have a devastating effect on California’s 422,000 IHSS recipients, particularly in rural communities.

One of my constituents is Noel S. She is a blind 26-year-old who suffers from several mental disabilities and whose mother, Marilyn, has been caring for her around the clock since birth. Both survive on minimal authorized IHSS wages. Noel’s mother, her primary caregiver, is paid for the maximum number of hours allowable under current IHSS regulations, 260 hours per month, to keep Noel out of nursing home placement. The rest of her care is unpaid.

Under the governor’s plan, a person with chronic conditions or with a severe disability who requires more than 40 hours of care per week must find an alternate caregiver or rely on a state-run temporary pool to assign workers.

Limiting Noel’s mother’s work week is problematic. Besides the “transfer trauma” in transitioning to another caregiver at the end of a theoretical eight-hour shift, this family’s remote, rural location and the low IHSS wage pose significant barriers to accessing quality care. Anyone who has ever cared for a loved one with disabilities also understands that attending to their needs does not always fit an arbitrary “clock time.”

California’s rural communities are already challenged by health disparities. Older rural adults have higher rates of obesity, physical inactivity and food insecurity than their urban counterparts. These factors drive higher heart disease and diabetes rates in rural areas.

The IHSS program is essential for California’s strategy to reduce health care costs by better managing chronic conditions and preventing costly complications that result in hospitalization and nursing home care. The governor’s proposal undermines this commitment to our state’s aging and disabled populations, with troubling disparate impact on rural communities.

Gov. Brown’s proposal also undermines the ability of IHSS consumers to make choices about who provides their care, a decades-long IHSS Program tenet often cited for the program’s success. His proposal threatens to leave severely disabled Californians without care and at risk of costlier nursing home placement. The temp-pool concept is untested on a statewide scale, and there is no evidence as to the ability of caregivers willing to take clients if the job requires driving long distances to do a few hours of work at rates just above minimum wage.

While Gov. Brown has championed the state’s economic recovery, California’s poorest residents have not recovered from years of devastating budget cuts made in the darkest hours of the recession. This is especially true in rural California, where the impact of crippling reductions still hamstring the most basic services like health clinics, public transportation for people with disabilities, or keeping rural roads open and accessible.

California’s budget is back on track, with a projected budget surplus of $6.3 billion to prove it. But our comeback can’t be made on the backs of hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable Californians. We must reject the governor’s proposal to cap hours for IHSS caregivers and instead work to strengthen the IHSS program, which saves both money and lives.

— Mariko Yamada, D-Davis, represents the 4th District in the California Assembly.



Special to The Enterprise

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .


    Where do Davis recyclables go?

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    UCD faculty receive lowest pay in the system

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1

    Motive for murder-suicide remains a mystery

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

    Davis sewage to get new digs

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

    Human Relations Commission hosts Chávez celebration

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A2

    Davis Flower Arrangers meet Wednesday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

    ‘Music as Medicine’ is radio show topic

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

    Friendship the topic on radio program

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6



    These results were meaningless

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Survey not representative

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Answers on the green waste program

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    A phone call could have fixed this

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    Milt Prigee cartoon

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    Some ‘survey’ …

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Mayor’s corner: Looking ahead to spring

    By Dan Wolk | From Page: B5 | Gallery

    A Little Respect for Dr. Foster

    By Nicholas Kristof | From Page: B5

    Universities need more funding

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

    Father of the bride snubbed

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    Which experiences count as ‘once in a lifetime’?

    By Marion Franck | From Page: A8

    After a month of no TV news, I’m feeling much better

    By Debra DeAngelo | From Page: A8

    Take a hike for your heart

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8



    Republic stun Galaxy with repeated history

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Bad fourth quarter sinks boys lacrosse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Aggies’ walkoff win clinches series against Riverside

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie softball splits doubleheader

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Burns scores shootout winner to lift Sharks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    UCD roundup: Aggie women’s tennis dominates at home

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B10 | Gallery







    Millennials are changing our community

    By Rob White | From Page: A9

    With new owner, DAC will Get Fit

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Grant writing for non-profits workshop set

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9





    Comics: Sunday, March 29, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8