Inter-Departmental Correspondence

Health System



May 11, 2009


May 19, 2009







Honorable Board of Supervisors

Acting as the In-Home Supportive Services Public Authority



Jean S. Fraser, Chief, Health System
Lisa Mancini, Director, Aging and Adult Services



In-Home Supportive Services Independent Provider Wage Decrease



Adopt a Resolution authorizing the Chief of the Health System, on behalf of the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Public Authority, to submit a Letter of Intent to the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) on or before June 1, 2009, informing CDSS of a $2.00 per hour wage decrease, from $11.50 to $9.50 per hour, for IHSS Independent Providers to be effective July 1, 2009, to reflect the decrease in the State participation in the wage rate.



Commitment: Responsive, effective and collaborative government.

Goal 20: Government decisions are based on careful consideration of future impact, rather than temporary relief or immediate gain.


The approval of the wage decrease contributes to this commitment and goal by assuring continuation of services throughout the County designed to assist individuals with the greatest needs maintain their independence and dignity within the least restrictive setting possible.


Performance Measure:


FY 2007-08

FY 2008-09

Percentage of consumers indicating their quality of living situation has improved as a result of services received through the Public Authority




In 1993, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance establishing a Public Authority to administer the provider components of the IHSS program and designating the Board as the Governing Board of the Public Authority.

Since its establishment, the Public Authority has always matched the IHSS wage at the rate the State participates. The current Memorandum of Understanding with Service Employees International Union, Local 521 for IHSS Independent Provider services is set to expire on June 30, 2009, and states that the wage for IHSS workers shall be $11.50, contingent on State participation at that rate. As part of the budget deal, the State decreased its participation in the IHSS wage rate from $11.50 to $9.50. Although the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has informed the State that it must rescind its planned wage reduction in order to receive approximately $6.8 billion in federal stimulus monies, the State is currently appealing that decision and, at present, the Public Authority must operate under the assumption that the aforementioned State participation rate will decrease.

On April 30, 2009, CDSS notified all Public Authorities that CDSS’s prior approval of their wage rates would no longer be effective after June 30th, and that they would need to submit new requests for approval of their PA rates for the FY 2009-10. CDSS further stated that, in lieu of its standard 60-day notification requirement for IHSS wage changes, it would instead require counties to submit “Letters of Intent” of any wage rate changes for the FY 2009-2010 by June 1, 2009. CDSS also clarified that such Letters of Intent need not be executed by the Presidents of the Governing Boards of such Public Authorities.



Because of the June 1st deadline for submission of its Letter of Intent, the Public Authority finds itself between a rock and a hard place: it is committed to ongoing labor negotiations regarding compensation to IHSS workers, yet must act now due to the State’s notification requirements for establishing a new wage rate for FY 2009-10.


We recommend taking action now only because we are forced to do so; if we fail to act, the State may require the County to keep the current $11.50 wage rate. If that occurs, the County would be forced to compensate for the State’s decrease, at an estimated annual cost of over $3 million. Given the County’s structural deficit, we cannot recommend this action. If, on the other hand, the State rescinds its planned wage rate reduction, or other events occur which enable the Public Authority to pay a higher wage than $9.50 per hour, the Public Authority’s Letter of Intent may be appropriately modified. In the interim, the Public Authority will continue to negotiate in good faith with SEIU. Any agreement that changes the wage rate will be communicated to the State and put into place as quickly as possible.



The decrease is $2.00 per hour plus approximately $.21 per hour in payroll taxes. Without the reduction, the County will be responsible to pay the State’s share of the $11.50 wage which would be an additional $287,494 per month or approximately $3,449,925 annually.