Locals react to proposal to cut In-Home Supportive Services

Funds may no longer be provided for meal preparation and errands
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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Some locals say they may feel the sting of a proposal by Gov. Jerry Brown to eliminate $163 million in funding to in-home supportive services in his latest budget proposal. Locals in the program say that without that funding it would be difficult to care for a patient or relative. County officials say the changes may not even come to fruition, while local non-profits say they have seen an increased demand for services when in-home supportive services have been cut in the past. The cut would eliminate funding for domestic and related in-home supportive services for those with a shared-living arrangement. Domestic and related tasks include housecleaning, meal preparation and clean-up, shopping for food, laundry and errands, as defined in Brown’s budget plan. One family’s story Merv Heuseveldt, of Lake of the Pines, has been caring for his wife Ruth at home since she had a stroke seven years ago. He and his family were featured in the Journal earlier this month. He had to quit his job as a truck driver so that he could give her care around the clock. Although his five children have helped support them, Heuseveldt said when the economy slumped that became extremely difficult. In-home support services has enabled him to keep his wife at home where she is happiest. “It depends on what level your are on,” Heuseveldt said. “I know there was a big cut awhile ago and we weren’t affected by that.” He said if the program were eliminated it would be very tough to provide the high-level of care he does now, but more expensive for taxpayers to put people receiving assistance through the program in nursing homes. In addition, Heuseveldt said he is required to log all of the minutes he spends caring for his wife, even though it’s really a 24-hour-a-day job. “That would be tough. Even now if I go out for five minutes, I have to find someone to cover,” Heusevedlt said. “It’s so crazy. You have to log every single minute. I still know us though; we wouldn’t do a nursing home. We just can’t do it.” County says cuts are not eminent Maureen Bauman, Placer County Director of Adult Systems of Care, said it is important for people to realize that the cuts are just in the proposal stage. “It does eliminate a set of services for IHSS, but doesn’t eliminate it for all of these people,” Bauman said. She said in the past court orders have stopped some of the cuts to services. Bauman said at the end of last year there were 1,990 people receiving assistance through the program in Placer County, although only a portion of those have a shared living arrangement. Non-profits stretched thin Candace Roeder, the executive director of Seniors First in Auburn, said more people have turned to the non-profit to provide services in the wake of cuts to in-home supportive services. “The impact on us is tremendous because we are the last stop for people,” Roeder said. “People that are losing their IHSS workers are looking to us for services. We are already working under tremendous cuts to IHSS and other programs. When these other programs were cut we didn’t get an increase in funding. It’s just a really challenging situation for everybody in Placer County.” Seniors First provided services such as senior nutrition, senior cafes, meals on wheels and errand and medical transportation. Roeder said while in-home supportive services could be pared down in certain areas, either way taxpayers will pay in the long-run. “I think there are some areas that could be tightened up in the IHSS program, but again Placer County has taken cuts. This is a program that for the most part the recipients desperately need,” Roeder said. “Really what’s going to happen is many more people are going to end up in a skilled nursing facility and we the people of Placer County are going to be paying for it one way or another.” Reach Sara Seyydin at