New Center Report Analyzes the California In-Home Supportive Services Plus Waiver Demo Program
Posted: March, 2009
Analysis of the California In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Plus Waiver Demonstration Program
Robert Newcomer, Ph.D. and Taewoon Kang, Ph.D.
University of California, Center for Personal Assistance Services
In 2004, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved California's In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Plus program under the Section 1115 demonstration authority of the Social Security Act. California refers to this program as the IHSS Plus Waiver. Full Medicaid (referred to as Medi-Cal in California) benefits and IHSS Plus benefits are available to all eligible IHSS Plus recipients. The IHSS program began in the early 1970s and was originally funded primarily with state and county funds and some federal Title XX (later renamed Social Services Block Grant) funds. Beginning in 1993, most IHSS services were financed through the Personal Care Services Program (PCSP) optional benefit and California benefited from 50% federal financial participation to cover these costs. However, prior to the granting of the IHSS Plus waiver, some services provided to a minority of IHSS recipients were not eligible for Medicaid federal matching payments. The cost of these "Residual Program" services had to be borne entirely by the state, with county cost sharing.
The effect of the IHSS Plus Waiver is to reduce the state and county share of costs for eligible Residual Program services to the same rates as in the state's PCSP. About 26,000 persons were receiving all or a portion of their IHSS personal assistance in 2004 through elements of the Residual Program that were to be incorporated into the IHSS Plus Waiver. The components of the IHSS Plus Waiver (i.e., the services not previously eligible for federal matching payments) include:
- Advance Pay: IHSS recipients meeting severely impaired criteria have the option to receive Advance Pay (i.e., Medicaid funds are paid to recipients in advance of personal assistance service delivery). This allows recipients to assure timely payments to care providers (including any emergency back-up providers).
- Parent and Spouse Providers: IHSS Plus Waiver permits spouses of adults, and parents of minor children to be paid as IHSS providers for personal care, protective supervision, domestic and related services. Other family members as well as Non-Relative providers can provide similar services under California's regular IHSS (i.e., PCSP) program.
- Restaurant Meal Vouchers: IHSS Plus Waiver recipients have the option, under appropriate circumstances, to receive a Restaurant Meal voucher in lieu of in-home assistance for meal preparation and related tasks.