Aging brings a host of changes that make living independently more challenging. As the public authority for In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) in Los Angeles County, the Personal Assistance Services Council (PASC) enables low-income seniors and people with disabilities to stay in their homes. PASC’s providers assist with everything from housekeeping tasks to mobility support to supervision for those with dementia and memory issues.
“What makes this program amazing is that it allows people to get out of hospitals and stay in the community and remain connected to the community,” says Greg Thompson, Director of PASC. Not only is IHSS more cost-effective than a nursing facility, it also provides better quality of life. Greg describes it as a “preventative measure,” cutting down on the need for emergency services and doctor’s appointments.
The cornerstone of the IHSS program, according to Greg, is the fact that it operates on an “independent provider model,” which gives individuals agency in their health care. With self-directed care, the consumer hires the provider directly and provides guidance for the tasks they need help with. Regardless of whether they have a disability or need extra support, “people just want to participate in the decisions that are made about their care,” Greg explains.
Over the 10 years he has served as Director, Greg has seen the program grow 5% each year – in line with the aging U.S. population and the growing need for services. Greg estimates that there are currently about 228,000 consumers in the program, and over 170,000 providers of home health services. The program is 50% state funded, and 50% funded by Medicaid.
Given the challenges of transportation in L.A., PASC attempts to match providers within a five-to ten-mile radius of their clients. However, the higher cost of living in areas like Santa Monica present another challenge, as producers tend to come from further away and find parking and public transit less accessible. As Santa Monica’s consumer population continues to grow, PASC is actively looking for more providers in the area.
If you are interested in learning more about PASC, please contact them at 877-565-4477 or www.pascla.org.
By Anne Wallentine