March 19th, 2020 – The California Department of Health Care Services sent a letter to request approval of Section 1135 Medicaid Waiver to Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in an effort to assist California in addressing issues related to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).  The request includes a waiver of the in-home face-to-face and/or in-home requirement for conducting reassessments and provides an option to conduct reassessments via telephone or other remote option for the IHSS program; additionally, the waiver request allows an extension of the reassessment period to 18 months, and to temporarily suspend quality assurance home visits.

March 16th.  Gov Newsom issues Executive Order regarding IHSS.  The Governor’s order  directs the Health and Human Services Agency to develop alternatives to leverage in home supportive services programs, adult protective services programs, area agencies on aging and regional centers, and other programs to support the home isolation of vulnerable Californians, including seniors and those with serious chronic conditions.

The order directs the following:

  • The state must focus on protecting the health and safety of the most vulnerable in licensed facilities.
  • The state shall immediately identify health, community care facilities, and other sites that house populations that are most vulnerable to COVID-19. This includes, but is not limited to seniors and individual who require assisted-living services due to chronic health conditions.
  • The state shall redirect resources and provide technical and compliance support to protect caregivers and those they care for.
  • Enforcement activities shall focus where there are allegations of the most serious violations impacting health and safety.
  • The Health and Human Services Agency, in consultation with counties and labor organization and consumers, shall leverage existing services and programs to support home isolation of vulnerable Californians, including seniors and those with serious chronic underlying health conditions.
  • To address the increased demand for healthcare workers and first responders, state Departments shall authorize first responders, care providers, and workers who are asymptomatic and taking precautions to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, to continue working during the period of this emergency

The full executive order can be viewed here.

IHSS Redeterminations Waived for 90 Days:

Californians who rely on Medi-Cal, CalFresh, CalWORKS, Cash Assistance for immigrants & in-home supportive services (IHSS) will NOT lose access due to #COVID19. Governor Newsom issued an Executive Order to waive eligibility re-determinations for 90 days.