In-Home Supportive Services

In-Home Supportive Services
December 14, 2006
By Beth Gabor, Yolo County Public Information Officer & Kimberly Bellows, U.C. Davis Intern

Under the Yolo County Department of Employment & Social Services, the Adult Services Division houses two programs – Adult Protective Services and In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS). IHSS is a service of Medi-Cal that provides assistance with domestic and personal care to elderly, blind and disabled individuals so they may continue to enjoy living in their own homes.

To receive IHSS services, one must first be determined to be financially eligible – often the same as Medi-Cal eligibility. When IHSS receives referrals for those at risk of out-of-home placement, they first conduct a financial review. If the individual is found to be financially eligible, a social worker will make an in-home visit to assess the client’s level of functioning within the home environment. This assessment is not a medical diagnosis but rather a look at how a medical diagnosis impacts the individual’s ability to function in specific areas, such as cleaning, preparing food, shopping and conducting personal care. Based on this assessment, the social worker then authorizes appropriate hours of services.

Once services are authorized, the client becomes the employer who conducts the hiring, training and supervising of their care provider. Often the client has a provider in mind, such as a family member or a friend. Clients can also seek assistance in finding a provider through the Yolo County Public Authority’s provider registry. Registered care-providers have completed an application, been screened, including fingerprinting and drug and alcohol testing, and have attended an orientation. If the client has difficulty with the role of employer, the Adult Services Division has a Home Care Specialist who assists with interviewing and training the provider, and other issues that may arise.

“IHSS and the Public Authority collaborate very effectively together to assist some of our most vulnerable citizens in selecting, hiring and training quality providers to attend to their needs,” said Jan Wolff, Adult Services Division Manager.

After a client selects their provider, that provider is enrolled in the department’s payroll system and ultimately issued a check biweekly by the state. Providers are currently paid $10.25 per hour, with an increase to $10.50 in January. Currently there are approximately 1,300 IHSS providers serving 1,471 clients in Yolo County, with 75 new client referrals monthly. Of the new referrals, generally half are approved. Non-approval may be due to individuals having too much money to qualify or those who do not have an assessed need. In such cases, social workers provide information about private agencies that can provide assistance.

In Yolo County there is an IHSS Advisory Committee that makes recommendations to the Board of Supervisors and the governing board of the Public Authority on the mode and method of IHSS services, as well as the delivery and administration of these services. To contact the Yolo County IHSS, call Adult Services at (916) 375-6239 or (888) 675-1115.

Note: Many recent features on Yolo County services have been researched and drafted by UC Davis Intern, Kimberly Bellows. Unfortunately, Kimberly is leaving Yolo County for a year-long study abroad program in Chile. Fortunately though, she has left us with a number of features to enjoy in the months to come. Kimberly, you will be missed and we wish you both a safe and prosperous journey.