Judge issues temporary order to halt IHSS cuts

A federal judge in Oakland has issued a temporary restraining order to keep California from implementing a 20 percent across-the-board cut in the In-Home Supportive Services program on Jan. 1.

IHSS is meant as an alternative to nursing homes or other out-of-home institutionalization for the elderly, disabled and blind. The deep cut was part of the state budget deal passed earlier this year.

But U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken found that the planned cut “will cause immediate and irreparable harm by placing members of the plaintiff class at imminent and serious risk of harm to their health and safety, as well as unnecessary and unwanted out-of-home placement including institutionalization.”

The order gives a coalition of disability rights and senior-citizen advocacy groups, plus labor unions representing IHSS workers, more time to make a case to overturn the cut completely. A hearing on a preliminary injunction in the case is scheduled for Dec. 15.

The TRO will remain in effect until there is a hearing in which the Court will decide whether to grant a preliminary injunction. This hearing is tentatively scheduled for December 15th.

“We are pleased that Judge Wilken recognized the urgency of preventing the state from moving ahead with this devastating cut that would affect nearly 400,000 elderly and disabled Californians,” Doug Moore, executive director of the 65,000-member UDW Homecare Providers Union and an international vice president of AFSCME, said in a news release. “We believe these cuts to IHSS would violate the Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws and need to be stopped immediately.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Betina

    Please also recall California Penal Code 368. In short, if any government official decides to cut services that a resonable person or persons should know would cause great bodily harm or injury or death to the disabled person by cutting the IHSS services, these government officials should be individually charged and arrested.

    Example, cutting IHSS services for severely-autistic persons who suffer from chronic serious behavioral issues (ie..self-abuse causing bodily harm and which requires 24/7 non stop protection and care) would most definately jeapordize the disabled citizen’s health and safety. Knowing this, any one individual or group of individuals who actively pursue cutting life perserving services for these citizens should be charged with a crime. And be sued civilly. CA penal code 368 is no joke. And should be enforced and applied to all those involved in the pervasive attacks on severely disabled persons receiving IHSS under protective supervision clause.

  • Betina

    The key component here is “knowingly”. Government officials KNOW how serious some cases receiving IHSS are. California penal code 368: “Any person (that means ANY, as in government officials hiding behind a cubicle) who, under circumstances or conditions likely to produce great bodily harm or death, willfully causes (by pushing for cuts) or permits (signs the authorization to cut services) any elder or dependent adult, with knowledge that he or she is an elder or a dependent adult, to suffer….or willfully causes or permits the elder or dependent adult TO BE PLACED IN a situation (away from care of family experts who protect him) in which his or her person or HEALTH is endangered (by having IHSS cut from their care and protection) is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or in the state prison for two, three, or four years….hope these people are ready to face prison time.

  • John W

    Of course the legislature and governor know the cuts will bring profound harm to real people. And, of course, these people are especially vulnerable, because they don’t have political clout. But the same could be said of many other programs the government funds. If the government has no money, and the taxpayers aren’t willing to pay more taxes, what’s the government supposed to do? Presumably, the same harm would be suffered if this program didn’t exist in the first place, which it clearly didn’t at some point. So, could a court compel the political branches of government to start a program to reduce that harm? In this case, I can understand a TRO to give the plaintiffs time to make a case without having the services cut off before they do. But, in the end, I don’t see how a court can order and enforce funding for something when the piggy bank is empty. Would they propose, for example, that we defund the courts in order to free up money to pay for in home services?

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    Re Betina: Guess you need to arrest the Legislature

  • Dan Barajas

    Im sure the goverment can find other programs to cut, besides the sick and elderly, those sick people at one time paid there tax’s and paid into or system and laws, and now they are sick and cant fight, the goverment wants to break the disability act laws to balance a budget that they mismanaged, Shame on you California. (Brown) They need to go thru with a fine tooth comb aand cut what is unnessary and fraud, not across the board crap !!