Public Health Is…“Let’s Get Healthy at Home”

California’s public health infrastructure is in peril.  Gov. Brown’s proposed 2012-2013 budget includes further reductions to critical services.  From one governor to the next, In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), California’s public program providing those needing assistance to live independently with caregivers, continues to be undervalued and an easy target for cuts.  Gov. Brown’s budget is no different.

With these cuts, our communities’ most vulnerable – seniors, adults and children living with disabilities – are forced to make impossible choices between food and medication, living in their home or going to a nursing home.  Our neighbors’ physical health and mental well-being are being placed in unnecessary danger.  It is not too drastic to say that lives will be cut short.   

Families, caregivers, and all Californians will share the burden too.  The proposed IHSS cuts translate to consumers’ needs going unmet, families bearing the burden of care, local community resources getting further stretched, and caregivers losing work, healthcare, and their livelihood.  With 400,000 persons receiving IHSS services, over 300,000 caregivers, and countless families impacted, the ripple effect of funding losses to IHSS will devastate the health and financial well-being of millions and drain our public systems in unprecedented ways.

Is that it? No.  There is a solution.        

Across the state, caregivers, their unions, consumer groups and community allies, are uniting through “Let’s Get Healthy at Home” to urge our general assembly to pass SB 1503.   This bill, if passed, will save California money while improving the IHSS system.  It will recognize IHSS as an integral part of California’s long-term care delivery system, provide training opportunities to improve care, and integrate IHSS into the larger managed care infrastructure saving costs through better care coordination while maintaining consumer-directed care.

What can you do? Click here to add your voice to those calling on CA lawmakers to do the right thing.    

This blog is written in honor of the late Gladys Taulbee and all homecare workers that have dedicated their lives to care for others. 

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