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Home support authority on track

Kevin Wiser

Nevada County supervisors are expected to formally establish a public authority Tuesday to provide in-home supportive services for the county’s elderly and disabled.

State law AB 1682 requires that counties establish a public authority and designate an employer of record for in-home supportive services by Jan. 1.

Adoption of Tuesday’s proposed ordinance will bring the county into compliance with the law and provide the mechanism to create the public authority, said Phil Reinheimer, the county’s public guardian and director of Adult and Family Services.

It will take up to a year, Reinheimer said, before the authority is fully operational.

Reinheimer will provide a proposed time line Tuesday for implementation of the authority, to be composed of 11 members who are familiar with personal assistance services. They will be appointed by supervisors.

The authority will establish a caregivers registry and referral system; background checks and training for potential caregivers; development of a written process to address consumer complaints regarding authority services; and adoption of rules and regulations.

Under the authority, caregiver wages will increase from a minimum rate of $6.44 an hour to $7.25 in 2003-04 and to $7.50 in 2004-05.

“We’re trying to improve the level and availability of long term in-home care for people in Nevada County and make sure caregivers are given better wages and benefits,” said Supervisor Elizabeth Martin.

Martin said better in-home supportive services and wages for caregivers will cost the county more.

“But people need to understand that IHSS is not a luxury care program for the wealthy; it serves the poorest of the poor,” she said. “They’re frail, elderly people, but also children with chronic illnesses.”

The county’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2002-03 contains the $1.5 million-plus necessary to initiate and establish the administrative infrastructure for the authority.

The county’s projected costs for the authority will increase by $239,610 for fiscal year 2003-04 and $312,165 for 2004-05.

Know and Go

WHAT: Creation of a county in-home supportive services public authority

WHEN: 9 a.m. Tuesday

WHERE: Rood Administrative Center, 950 Maidu Ave., Nevada City

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