Wednesday, March 4, 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



Guilty verdict in child abduction case

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

Davisite competing for breast cancer ‘Survivor of the Year’

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Cool musicians, hot jazz at Coconut Grove fundraiser

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

UC will freeze resident admissions

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Bob Dunning: Aggies still have all to play for

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

State’s snow levels reach historic lows

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A2 | Gallery

Visiting prof will discuss Armenian genocide

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Holmes plans open house Thursday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Nominees sought for Bill Streng Business Award

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Museum brick sales to end this month

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Prostate cancer group looks at massage

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

Moore featured at two climate talks this week

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Talk breast cancer with oncologic surgeon

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

DPNS offers open house Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Public input sought Monday on Northstar Pond

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Documentary on immigration issues will be screened

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

Veggie gardening, composting are workshop topics

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Closing education gap will lift economy, a study finds

By New York Times News Service | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Applications due for Rotary’s leadership camp

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Project Linus meets March 11

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Breakfast with the Bunny tickets on sale now

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery



Snowbird sings the song he always sings

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

Athletes just want time to do their homework

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Let’s not delete Giovanni Barovetto from Davis history

By Rich Rifkin | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Low-flow toilets in our parks?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

It was music to our ears

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Thanks for pet drive support

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Story was an ad for NRA

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6



DHS girls lacrosse coach likes her 2015 squad

By Dylan Lee | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Hawkins enters the home stretch of brilliant UCD career

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Blue Devils girls stay undefeated ahead of league opener

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

After a shaky start, DHS stands up to No. 4 St. Mary’s, but loses

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Cousins returns to lift Kings in New York

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

San Jose crushes Canucks behind Nieto

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Sports briefs: Blue Devils drop softball opener

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3



Ringing in the Year of the Sheep with dim sum

By Ann Evans | From Page: A8 | Gallery



French-Algerian guitarist weaves acoustic spells at The Palms on Friday March 6

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

California Honeydrops drop in for ‘Down Home’ tour

By Landon Christensen | From Page: A7 | Gallery





Merna Petersen

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4



Comics: Wednesday, March 4, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B6