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In-Home Support Services Public Authority

Chapter 1: The Public Authority

What is the In-Home Support Services Public Authority?

In response to the 1999 California Assembly Bill 1682, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors established by County Ordinance the IHSS Public Authority on June 12, 2001. The Board of Supervisors, acting as the Board of Directors, serves as the governing body for the Public Authority. The Board of Supervisors also established a 10-member Advisory Committee that provides ongoing advice and recommendations to the Public Authority and the IHSS program.

The Sonoma County In-Home Support Services Public Authority acts to enhance IHSS services and support the concerns of both consumers and care providers in several ways:

  • First, the IHSS Public Authority acts as the employer of record for IHSS care providers in collective bargaining for wages and benefits and other terms and conditions of employment.
  • Second, it administers the eligibility and enrollment of IHSS care providers for dental and health benefits.
  • Third, it operates the Registry, a referral service for IHSS consumers for obtaining referrals of screened care providers. The Registry recruits, screens and provides orientation for care providers, and maintains a computerized Registry listing of care providers.
  • Fourth, it provides support and training opportunities for both care providers and consumers.
  • Fifth, it provides staff support for the Public Authority Advisory Committee, which is a resource for consumers and care providers to voice their opinions and ideas for improvement of the Public Authority and IHSS program.
  • Sixth, it offers the Urgent Substitute Provider Program (USPP) that provides substitute care providers for temporary urgent care situations that IHSS consumers face. 

    The In-Home Support Services Program and the Agencies that Support It

    The IHSS Public Authority is one of several agencies and bodies involved in supporting the IHSS program. Others include the Human Services Department, the State of California, the Union and the Public Authority Advisory Committee. These are described below:

    • In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) is a federal, state and county-funded program that pays care providers for domestic and personal care services for eligible low income, aged, blind or disabled persons who require in-home care providers to support their independence. This program is located in the Sonoma County Human Services Department.
    • County of Sonoma, Human Services Department (HSD) administers the IHSS program, determines IHSS eligibility and performs assessments. Through the Payroll Unit, it processes timesheets and forwards timesheet information to the State.
    • The State of California mails paychecks to the care providers.
    • The Union (SEIU-UHW-West) negotiates wages, benefit, and working conditions on behalf of the care providers.
    • Public Authority Advisory Committee provides advice and recommendations related to service delivery and program administration to the Board of Supervisors, IHSS Public Authority and the IHSS program.

    The diagram below illustrates the relationship between the care provider and the agencies assisting the care provider:

    Who is the Employer?

    • The Consumer is the employer for the purposes of selecting, hiring, supervising, training, and firing his/her in-home care provider.
    • The State of California is the employer for the purpose of paying for IHSS hours worked and providing certain benefits (Disability, Unemployment, and Worker’s Compensation Insurance).
    • The IHSS Public Authority is the employer for the purpose of collective bargaining with the union (including negotiating wages, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment).