New Public Health Order- IHSS Vaccine Requirements
September 30, 2021
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a public health order that went into effect on September 28, 2021, that requires In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) providers and Waiver Personal Care Services (WPCS) providers to be vaccinated for COVID-19. The requirement is part of a larger public health order that includes requirements on other workers in similar care settings. This joint summary by CSAC, the County Welfare Directors Association (CWDA), and the California Association of Public Authorities (CAPA) focuses on the IHSS aspects of the public health order. As detailed below, there are no county or public authority responsibilities for enforcing or tracking the IHSS vaccine requirement.
With the significant increase in COVID-19 cases, the state of California is implementing new measures to try to combat the rise and protect vulnerable populations. CDPH has previously issued orders that require workers who provide services in certain health care facilities to be vaccinated by September 30, 2021. This new CPDH order requires IHSS/WPCS providers to have their first dose of a one-dose regimen or their second dose of a two-dose regimen by November 30, 2021.
The order provides exceptions for two categories of IHSS/WPCS providers: a) providers who only provide services to a consumer they live with and b) providers who only provide services to a family member. A provider is not eligible for those two exceptions if they provide services to more than one household. The CDPH order provides an exemption for providers who decline vaccination due to Religious Beliefs or Qualifying Medical Reasons. Those providers would have masking and testing requirements.
The order establishes that the IHSS consumer is the employer for purposes of the vaccine mandate. Counties and Public Authorities are not required to obtain verification of the vaccine status of IHSS/WPCS providers or track compliance with this public health order. IHSS and WPCS providers are responsible to keep records of their vaccination or exemption status and must make those records available to their IHSS consumer upon request. CDSS will be issuing an All County Letter soon with additional guidance for counties and Public Authorities. Our organizations will be pressing for this to occur rapidly.