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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Illinois Social Service Agencies, & Advocates Urge Governor To Sign Key Measure To Protect Seniors And Disabled Home-Services

Across the State of Illinois, social service agencies, and Advocates have continued working to have the State Legislators, and Gov. Rauner to do the right thing - Protect Home-Services for Seniors, and People with Disabilities.
We ask that all of you take a minute to call Governor Rauner’s offices in Chicago and Springfield and ask that he sign HB 2482. You can do this by calling 312-814-2121 or 217-782-0244. Please say that you are concerned about saving home services for people with disabilities and seniors, and you want Governor Rauner to SIGN House Bill 2482 as soon as possible. Please ask others who care about home services to call too. 
TY, Jim Watkins, Ability Chicago Info 

House Bill 2482 Protects Home Services, Creates Jobs Statewide

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.Sept. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With thousands of older and disabled Illinoisans at risk of, or already losing, critical in-home services due to a proposed eligibility change, the Illinois General Assembly took decisive action last week to ensure they are not cut off from their caregivers. House Bill 2482 would preserve the current eligibility threshold for the Determination of Need (DON) score which is used to ensure nearly 34,000 vulnerable Illinoisans have access to caregiver programs.  The General Assembly approved the bipartisan measure with super-majority support and the bill has been sent to the Governor.  On behalf of its 1.7 million members, AARP is urging the Governor to take swift action and enact the legislation into law.
"Preserving the DON score for Community Care Program clients will allow thousands of vulnerable older and disabled Illinoisans to receive critical programs and services in their own homes and communities," said AARP Illinois State Director Bob Gallo. "We commend State Senator Daniel Biss and Representative Greg Harris for their leadership in moving this bill forward as well as many other lawmakers from both sides of the aisle that rose above politics to cast a "Yes" vote for our state's most frail populations.  Now is the time for the Governor to rise above politics and define his administration as a national champion for seniors, disabled residents and their loved ones."
Illinois' Community Care Program (CCP) and the Home Services Program (HSP) both utilize the DON score for client eligibility.  These programs are catalysts for economic growth and prosperity for Illinois statewide.  AARP highlights three important economic advantages these programs invest in Illinois, according to the Innovation Caregivers Impact Report based on FY2013 numbers:
  • Caregiver programs directly created over 144,000 caregiver jobs in Illinois and indirectly an additional 66,000 jobs in communities across the state.
  • The State's caregiver programs brought over $1.1 billion in federal dollars back to Illinois' taxpayers in FY2013.
  • In-home care programs for seniors and people with disabilities save up to $1 billion each year.
  • Every dollar of GRF spending invested in caregiver programs generated an average of $3.74 in economic activity.
The DON score is a score that determines the extent of an applicant's eligibility and need for services under the CCP, HSP and nursing home admission.  Governor Rauner proposed raising the minimum eligibility from 29 to 37 – effectively cutting services for over 24,000 seniors and 10,000 disabled clients from statewide programs.
House Bill 2482 includes the following policies:
  • Protect the 29 minimum DON score until the State receives federal approval and implements an updated assessment tool (the Universal Assessment Tool or UAT).
  • Ensure that the updated assessment tool does not negatively impact more than 1% of those currently enrolled in the HSP or CCP.
  • Ensure that if someone does not quality for HSP or CCP programs when reassessed, they still have one year to remain eligible for home services.
  • Ensure that no individual receiving care in an institutional setting is involuntarily discharged as a result of the DON assessment tool until a transition plan has been developed by the State, and all care identified in the transition plan is available to the resident immediately upon discharge.
  • Strike the SMART Act language on the DON Score allowing the State to change the DON from 29 to 37 with federal approval.


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