January 2011

FAQ: Expanded Crimes List for New Providers

California recently  made changes to the list of crimes that could disqualify someone from being eligible to work as a caregiver as part of the state’s  In-Home Support Services program. Here’s everything you need to know about the changes.

Who will the expanded crimes list affect?

Only new providers – those applying to be an IHSS provider – will be subject to the expanded crimes list.

When is the expanded crimes list for background checks going to start?

February 1, 2011. There is no end date.

What are the differences in the crime tiers?

Tier 1 felonies include fraud against a government health care or supportive services program; and child or elder/dependent abuse. These felonies already existed as disqualifying crimes for IHSS providers. (These only apply to convictions in the previous 10 years, and as always, persons with these convictions can appeal the decision of a county or Public Authority to terminate them to the CDSS Provider Enrollment Appeals Unit.)

Tier 2 felonies – which will take effect on February 1 – include serious and violent felonies as well as sexual crimes that require registration as a sex offender.

Who is considered a new provider?

1) All new provider applicants as of February 1, 2011
2) Any applicant who was denied enrollment to be a provider due to a criminal conviction and who is
still waiting for a decision of their appeal of the denial as of February 1, 2011.
3) An individual who has not completed all of the provider enrollment requirements and has not been
enrolled as a provider prior to February 1, 2011. So, if you have completed some but not all of the
enrollment requirements by February 1, your background check will be subject to the expanded
crimes list.

What if one of the enrollment requirements I have completed before February 1, was submitting my fingerprints for the background check?

If you submitted your fingerprints prior to February 1, but the county has not received and evaluated your background check results before February 1, your background check will be subject to the expanded list of crimes.

Bottom line: If an individual applying to be an IHSS provider has not completed all steps by February 1, he or she will be subject to the expanded crimes list. There are no exceptions.

What if I have been convicted of a crime that is not included on either Tier 1 or Tier 2 of the expanded crimes list? Will that impact my ability to become a provider?

No. Counties can only disqualify you or deny your application to be a provider if you have been convicted of one of the crimes on the Tier 1 or Tier 2 list of crimes.

Will my consumer be told of any other criminal convictions on my record other than those covered by the expanded crimes list?

No, counties are not authorized under state law to disclose any other criminal conviction information to the recipient beyond those listed under the Tier 1 and Tier 2 categories.

What happens if I have been convicted of a Tier 1 crime within the last 10 years?

You will not be eligible to be enrolled as a provider, even if the conviction has been expunged from your record. There is no waiver or exception process for a Tier 1 crime.

Will I be ineligible to be a provider if I have been convicted of a Tier 2 crime?

Yes. However, there are two exceptions to this rule:

1) Care recipients can approve the provider they select by overriding your disqualification by signing a waiver. Consumers can request a waiver through the County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) Office; or
2) You can apply for a general exception if you provide evidence of rehabilitation or evidence that the charges have been dropped.

How can I apply for a general exception?

Your denial notice, telling you that you are ineligible to be a provider due to Tier 2 crimes, will include with it a form to request a general exception. You must submit the items listed on the general exception form to the Caregiver Background Check Bureau at the California Department of Social Services within 45 days of the date of your denial notice. The Caregiver Background Check Bureau will determine whether or not to grant you a general exception based on the evidence you submit.

Important: You have to use the general exception form to request a general exception.

What is the address of the Caregiver Background Check Bureau?

California Department of Social Services
Caregiver Background Check Bureau
744 P Street, MS 9-15-65
Sacramento, CA 95814

How long will it take for the Caregiver Background Check Bureau to approve or deny my request for a general exception?

It may take at least 75 calendar days to process after a complete exception request has been submitted and the Bureau has received a copy of your background check.

Will I be paid for any work performed while I wait for the decision on my exception request?

No. You cannot be paid for any work performed for an IHSS recipient until the general exception request has been approved.

What if I have been convicted of a Tier 2 crime, but the conviction has been expunged from my record?

If your crime has been expunged, it cannot be used to deny you from being enrolled as an IHSS provider. However, there are certain Tier 2 crimes that will prevent you from becoming a provider even if they have been expunged from your record. Those Tier 2 crimes are:

PC Section Crime
286(c) Sodomy of a child under 14 and who is more than ten years younger than the attacker
288 Lewd or lascivious acts with a child
288a(c) Oral copulation
288.5 Continuous sexual abuse of a child
289(j) Sexual penetration of a child under 14 and who is more than ten years younger than the attacker
261.5(d) Person 21 year of age or older engaging in unlawful sex with a minor under 16 years of age

Do those crimes also to my ability to be a provider through the waiver or general exception process?

No. Those specific crimes are only related to eligibility to be a provider due to expungement.

If I have been convicted of a Tier 1 crime in the past 10 years and that crime has been expunged, am I eligible to be a provider?

No. An applicant provider who has been convicted of, or incarcerated following a conviction for, a Tier 1 crime within the last ten years, is not be eligible to be enrolled as a provider, regardless of whether or not the conviction has been expunged.

Can I appeal my denial to be enrolled as an IHSS provider?

Yes. You have 60 days to appeal from the date of the notice informing you that the county has denied your eligibility to serve as an IHSS provider. That notice will include with it an appeal form. Fill out and sign the appeal form, providing any documentation you feel will help your appeal request, and send to:

California Department of Social Services
Adult Programs Branch
IHSS Provider Enrollment Appeals Unit, MS 19-04
PO Box 944243
Sacramento, CA 94244-2430
If you have any questions, call the CDSS Provider Enrollment Appeals Unit (PEAU) at (916) 556-1156.

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Member in Letter-to-the-Editor: I’m not a “Chore Worker.”

In a letter-to-the-editor published in the Santa Cruz Good Times, ULTCW member Sylvia Lucas set the record straight on the type of work she does.

Here’s an excerpt:

I believe that defining my work as “chore” is incorrect. We provide inexpensive, quality care for many of our county’s seniors and disabled citizens.  Cutting our wages would only serve to hurt these patients, as many of these workers could no longer afford to work as a home care provider.

I am not a “chore” worker.  I invite the supervisor to do a 24-shift in my shoes so that she can see for herself how the acute care I provide is not a “chore.”  Rather, what I provide is quality, caring care for some of the most vulnerable citizens in our county.

Read the whole letter

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SEIU’s Mary Kay Henry on Florida Federal Court Ruling: History Shows That Healthcare Law Will Prevail

WASHINGTON, DC – Mary Kay Henry, President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), issued the following statement today in response to the ruling by a Florida federal district court which struck down the Affordable Care Act:

“Social Security, the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act and the Minimum Wage Act. These landmark acts changed our country for the better by securing essential freedoms for all Americans and improving our quality of life. Yet, they were initially struck down by lower courts but went on to prevail to make our country more equitable, stable and just. Today, we find ourselves at a similar moment in history.

“Americans cannot afford to lose the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, including discounts for seniors struggling with the cost of lifesaving prescriptions, protections for children due to pre-existing conditions and coverage for young adults up to age 26.

“The Affordable Care Act, not partisan politics, will ultimately prevail. Those who oppose it, or seek to delay its benefits, are playing politics with the lives and livelihoods of their own citizens.

“The healthcare reform law is working for people such as Mark Freeman from Minneapolis who works in a warehouse and has a 21 year old son with autism. Because of the Affordable Healthcare Act, the Freeman family can now sleep at night knowing they can keep their son on their own healthcare coverage.

“In the midst of our nation’s jobs crisis, Americans are counting on the law to put them back in control of their own healthcare, stop insurance company abuses and lower escalating healthcare costs.”

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News Reports: Bipartisan call to protect IHSS from further cuts

The San Jose Mercury does a round-up from its Bay Area News Group’s Political Blotter blog about Republicans who support In-Home Supportive Services.

Money quote:

As the state budget process inches forward, even some Republicans are now saying that deep cuts to the state’s In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program may be ill-advised because they’ll cost California more in the long run.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget proposal includes cutting all IHSS funding for domestic services — things such as cooking, cleaning and laundry — for certain recipients; foes of the plan say this would mean more than 380,000 elderly and disabled people losing this aid. The budget also includes a proposed 8.4 percent cut to all IHSS recipient hours, atop the 3.6 percent cuts from the 2010 budget.

Read more: Republicans support IHSS

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Univision Interviews Monterey Member on Proposed Homecare Cuts

Ysida RealULTCW member Yadira Real participated in interview with a Univision reporter on Jan 31 about Gov. Brown’s proposed $500 million cuts to the In-Home Supportive Services program.

Speaking in front of the John Steinbeck National Museum in Salinas, Ms. Real, an executive board member representing Monterey County, spoke about how these cuts would effect services to low-income seniors and the disabled.

There are nearly 4,000 home care providers in Monterey County — the majority of whom live in the Salinas Valley, home to John Steinbeck, the depression-era, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Grapes of Wrath.”

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FAQ: Changes to the In-Home Supportive Services Program in California’s 2010-11 Budget

As you know, California law makers recently signed a budget that makes some changes to the state’s long term care program (IHSS). We’ve created a document that answers frequently asked questions about those changes.

(Click this link to download a PDF version: SEIU ULTCW California 2010-11 Budget FAQ)

Q: What cuts were made to the In-Home Supportive Services program in the 2010-11 California budget?

A: There was a 3.6% across-the-board cut to authorized hours for all care recipients.

Q: Are there any exceptions to this reduction?

A: No, but the consumers retain their right to appeal the hours reductions.

Q: I’m a care provider. What does that mean for me?

A: All of your care recipients will see a 3.6% cut in their authorized hours

Q: With a reduction in my hours, might I no longer be eligible for health insurance?

A: It’s possible; however, you have the option to seek additional work hours with other consumers. Please call the ULTCW Member Action Center to find out more information: 1-877-MY-ULTCW (698-5829)

Q: When does this reduction start?

A: The reduction begins February 1, 2011, so you should expect to see the 3.6% cut reflected in your first paycheck after that date.

Q: How long will the reduction last?

A: Until June 30, 2012, at which point the governor and legislators will re-examine the reductions and decide whether to roll them back, extend them or even increase them.

Q: Were there changes to the rules that disqualify someone from acting as a care provider?

A: Yes. The new budget adds additional crimes to the disqualifying crimes list and splits the list of crimes into two tiers: “Tier 1” felonies — which already existed in previous years; and “Tier 2” felonies, which will become law 90 days after Gov. Schwarzenegger signed this year’s budget – approximately January 17, 2011.

Q: What are the differences in the crime tiers?

A: Tier 1 felonies include fraud against a government health care or supportive services program; and child or elder/dependent abuse. (These only apply to convictions in the previous 10 years, and as always, you can appeal a disqualification to the CDSS Provider Enrollment Appeals Unit.) Tier 2 felonies – which were newly added into law this year – include serious and violent felonies as well as sexual crimes that require registration as a sex offender.

Q: Are there exceptions to the new disqualifying crimes rule?

A: Yes, several: The Tier 2 list of disqualifying felonies is “prospective” – meaning that if you’ve already been deemed eligible to be a provider, you are NOT subject to a new background check based on the expanded list.

Also, care recipients can approve any provider they select – no matter what kind of Tier 2 felonies the provider has been convicted of. So, if you are planning on applying to be a provider, or if you are already in the process, the consumer can override your disqualification by signing a waiver.

(Alternatively, you can apply for a general exemption if you provide evidence of rehabilitation or evidence that the charges have been dropped.)

Q: I already cleared a background check. Will I have to clear another one because of these new rules?

A: No. You CANNOT be forced to take a second background check if you have successfully completed your first.

Q: What’s this I’ve been hearing about a Personal Care IHSS Quality Assurance Revenue Fund?

A: The Personal Care IHSS Quality Assurance Revenue Fund will enable the IHSS Program to take advantage of federal funding — just like hospitals and nursing homes. We developed this fund as a way for the state to obtain more federal matching funds for home care — without taking any money out of the provider’s pocket.

It is a complicated process, but essentially, your paystub may show a deposit and a deduction in the same amount which will not affect your actual pay and is used solely for accounting purposes. The state government ends up with up to $190 million in new matching funds – and you will NEVER see a reduction in your paycheck as a result.

Q: How can I get answers to other questions about the budget and how it affects me?

A: Please call the ULTCW Member Action Center: 1-877-MY-ULTCW (698-5829). You can also reach us via seiu-ultcw.org

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Laphonza Butler Elected International Vice President, SEIU

(Los Angeles) – At SEIU’s recent January 2011 Executive Board meeting held in Puerto Rico, SEIU United Long Term Care Workers (ULTCW) President, Laphonza Butler, was elected by the SEIU International Executive Board to serve as an International Vice President.

One of only twenty-five International Vice Presidents, Laphonza was recognized for her successful leadership in the fight for economic and social justice, and ensuring that the work and contributions of California long term caregivers are understood and respected among lawmakers and the general public.

“The hardworking home care and nursing home workers united in ULTCW can testify best to Laphonza’s leadership in action,” said Mary Kay Henry, SEIU International President. “With her creativity and determination in engaging members in community service and politics, Laphonza will bring great skill and insight to fight for justice for all working people as an International Vice President of SEIU.”

SEIU International Vice Presidents are the highest governing body of the union between International Conventions and hold the responsibility of providing union leadership with strategic vision and counsel.

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Santa Cruz County Members Keep up the Pressure at Supervisors Meeting

Santa Cruz Mayor Mike Rotkin

Santa Cruz Mayor Mike Rotkin lends support for county home care workers outside of the meeting place of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors on Jan 25th. The board is the governing body that has the ability to determine the county's share of wages for county home care workers.

Over a dozen ULTCW members and supporters made a show of force at the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors meeting on January 25th — part of an ongoing campaign to maintain full funding for in-home care in the county.

Speaking in front of the board, attendees explained why any further cuts to homecare funding could imperil the lives of their care recipients, in addition to threatening the own livelihoods of all care givers.

The members and supporters in attendance, who included Santa Cruz Mayor Mike Rotkin, represented the districts of all five supervisor districts in Santa Cruz County. The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors is the governing body that has the power to determine the county’s share of wages for homecare workers.

A member-led ULTCW bargaining team is currently in negotiations with the board of supervisors over the contract for county homecare workers. At issue is the hourly wage paid to workers, in addition to other negotiation points.

Ever since the campaign kicked off last winter, ULTCW members and supporters have been stepping up their efforts, which include:

  • Mailing 200 hand-written letters to targeted members of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors
  • Sending over 400 support emails to all five supervisors
  • Holding member-led organizational meetings in each of the five Santa Cruz County supervisor districts
  • Speaking publicly at every county Board of Supervisors

To get involved, please contact ULTCW staff member Erik Larsen at erikl@seiu-ultcw.org

Click here to send an email to the Santa Cruz Cuonty Board of Supervisors.

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Featured Pictures


Every Hour Counts Rally
Sacramento, California

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Supporters Flood Santa Cruz Supervisors With Support Letters

In the campaign to secure full budgetary for Santa Cruz County homecare workers, supporters have made their voices heard.

Since late November of 2010, supporters have sent over 1,000 emails to the members of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, requesting that the board maintain a living wage for county homecare workers.

Want to send a letter of your own? Visit SaveSantaCruzCare.com

Want to learn more about the campaign? Read about the campaign to save Santa Cruz homecare.

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