New IHSS medical accompaniment for COVID vaccines

In Home Supportive Services recipients age 16 to 64 are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.  IHSS recipients who need assistance from their provider to get a COVID-19 vaccine can use medical accompaniment hours for that purpose.  Recipients who need additional hours for this purpose, or who do not have medical accompaniment time but need it to get their vaccine can get a one-time payment for providers for up to four hours (two hours per vaccine appointment) per recipient.

CDSS is sending informing notices to IHSS recipients.  IHSS recipients aged 16 to 64 will get a letter which they can use to verify that they are IHSS recipients and the Vaccine Medical Accompaniment Claim Form.  IHSS recipients age 65 or older will only get a copy of the Claim Form.

No adjustment to existing service hours is needed, and hours for vaccine medical accompaniment will not be counted towards the provider’s weekly hours.  (ACL 21-31, March 15, 2021.)

COVID-19 extension of sick leave for IHSS providers

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued information about the extension of two weeks of emergency paid sick leave in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act for In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) and Waiver Personal Care Services (WPCS) providers.  The Consolidated Appropriations Act extends the paid sick leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act until March 31, 2020.  An IHSS or WPCS provider may request sick leave once from April 2, 2020 until March 31, 2021 if the provider is unable to work because of one of six listed COVID-19 related reasons.  The extension to March 31, 2021 does not create additional sick leave hours for providers who already used their Families First Coronavirus Response Act emergency sick leave.

Full-time employees (working 40 or more hours per week) are entitled to 80 hours of paid sick leave.  Part-time employees are entitled to the average number of hours that they work over a two-week period.

When a provider needs to take COVID-19 sick leave, they should complete the COVID-19 sick leave form, TEMP 3021 and submit the form to their IHSS county office.  WPCS providers submit the form to the Department of Health Care Services.  (ACL 21-06, January 19, 2021.)

End of proration of IHSS protective supervision

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has information regarding the end of prorating of In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) protective supervision.

Protective supervision is an IHSS service for observing non-self directing, confused, mentally impaired or mentally ill persons who need 24-hour per day supervision to remain safely in their home.  Previously, when two or more recipients in the same household were eligible for protective supervision, the need was considered to be met in common and the hours were prorated.  Effective July 1, 2020, protective supervision will no longer be prorated when two or more protective supervision recipients live in the same home.

Counties must ensure that recipients understand that their IHSS hours may increase because protective supervision hours are no longer prorated.  County should inform recipients of workweek limitations and the possible need for additional care providers because of the increased hours.  (ACL 20-111, October 13, 2020.)

COVID-19 reinstatement of IHSS overtime violations

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has reinstated overtime and travel time violations for IHSS providers that were suspended because of COVID-19.

In ACL 20-32, CDSS stated that overtime and travel time violations incurred while performing services that were in critical need because of the COVID-19 state of emergency would be removed.

Effective September 1, 2020, violations for exceeding overtime and travel time limits are reinstated.   Going forward, counties should use the process in ACL 16-46 to determine requests to rescind overtime and travel time violations for services that are necessary because of COVID-19.  Counties can override overtime violations if: 1) the additional hours are necessary to meet an unanticipated need; 2) the additional hours are related to an immediate need that could not be postponed until a backup provider arrives; and 3) the additional hours are related to a need that would have a direct impact on the IHSS recipient and would have been needed to ensure their health or safety.

COVID-19 may require IHSS providers to work additional hours of overtime.  These hours may fall under the above criteria. Counties should consider such situations when determining whether to override an overtime or travel time violation.   (ACL 20-103, September 8, 2020.)

COVID-19 extension of exceptions to IHSS regulations

The California Department of Social Services has issued guidance regarding extension of  exceptions to In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) regulations because of COVID-19.

Effective August 4, 2020 until the end of the National Emergency, initial assessments for IHSS applicants can be conducted by videoconference for applicants who have been exposed to, present symptoms of, or test positive for COVID-19.

Counties must immediately begin doing reassessments.  Counties that suspended reassessments must conduct all outstanding reassessments that were suspended by December 31, 2020.  Until the end of the National Emergency, counties can conduct reassessments by videoconference.

Until December 31, 2020, when assessments and reassessments are conducted by telephone or videoconference, counties may accept self-attestation in lieu of original signatures on most required forms.  Original signatures are required for the request for paramedical services, designation of authorized representative, and request to provide waiver.

Until December 31, 2020, counties can continue to allow new IHSS applicants who cannot get a SOC 873 certification form from their health care provider to be considered at imminent risk of out of home placement.  Applicants should have an additional 45 days for good cause to submit a SOC 873 after the county requests it.

Paid sick leave for COVID-19 for IHSS providers will continue in effect until December 31, 2020.  The IHSS provider backup system and additional $2 for backup providers established in ACL 20-29, summarized here, will remain in effect until December 31, 2020.

The requirement for an in-person orientation for new IHSS providers and signing of the Provider Enrollment Agreement will continue to be waived until August 31, 2020.  Effective September 1, 2020, orientations can be conducted either in-person or by videoconference.  Providers enrolled between April and August, 2020 must complete the provider orientation and sign the Provider Enrollment Agreement by December 31, 2020.  In person presentation of government issued photo identification and Social Security card continues to be waived until December 31, 2020.  Until then, counties can accept mailed photocopies or faxes of those documents.  (ACL 20-75, July 6, 2020.)

COVID-19 extension of IHSS criminal background check changes

In ACL 20-50, the California Department of Social Services implemented a temporary suspension of the requirement that applicants to be In Home Supportive Services providers be fingerprinted as part of their criminal background check and allowed a name-based check instead.  The suspension of the fingerprinting requirement is extended through July 31, 2020.

To remain a provider after July 31, 2020, all providers who were enrolled using a name-based check must complete the regular criminal background check requirements by July 31, 2020, including the fingerprint based background check.  (ACL 20-67, June 12, 2020.)