SPRINGFIELD, Ill., April 21, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Taking swift and decisive action to protect thousands of the state's most vulnerable citizens against Governor Rauner's proposed cuts to Illinois' Community Care Program, the House of Representatives today passed House Bill 4351 House Amendment #1 by a vote of 68-40-2.
The legislation, introduced by State Representative Greg Harris would protect thousands of vulnerable Illinois seniors, and ensure the Community Care Program continues to exist to allow them to stay in their own homes and communities with purpose and dignity and receive the critical services they need to prevent premature and costly institutionalization.
"Illinois' ongoing partisan and budget fights are hurting countless seniors and their families across the state," said AARP Illinois State Director, Bob Gallo. "Today's vote sends a clear signal that preserving the Community Care Program must be a priority for Illinois. AARP, on behalf of our 1.7 million members, commends State Rep. Harris for his great leadership on this issue, and thanks the legislators who voted in support of the measure. We also urge the Senate to follow in the House's steps, pass this bill and send it promptly to the Governor's desk."
Governor Rauner's proposed $200 million cuts to the Community Care Program would leave over 43,000 seniors without services they rely on, threaten their health, and force them into costly and premature institutional care settings. The cuts would also worsen the state's finances, as the cost of caring for an individual in an institutional setting is triple the cost of caring for the same individual in a setting of his or her own choice.
Among other provisions, House Bill 4531 HA#1 would:
- Shield over 43,000 of Illinois' most vulnerable residents from partisan and budgetary differences;
- Codify the Determination of Need Score (DON) – a key measure determining the extent of an applicant's eligibility and need for services under CCP – at 29;
- Ensure that the CCP continues to exist to keep seniors in their homes as long as possible, preventing premature institutional care, and;
- Ensuring that individuals suffering from Alzheimer's, mobility issues, and other conditions requiring assistance, can continue to depend on CCP services.
A coalition of advocates for seniors and the disabled community in support of the Community Care Protection bill include:
- Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago
- Addus HomeCare, Inc
- AIDS Foundation of Chicago
- Alzheimer's Association
- Citizen Action-Illinois
- Coalition of Limited English Speaking Elderly (CLESE)
- Health & Disability Advocates
- Illinois Adult Day Service Association
- Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans
- Illinois Association of Community Care Program Homecare Providers
- Illinois Council of Case Coordination Units
- Illinois Partners for Human Services
- Legal Council for Health Justice
- NASW - Illinois
- SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana
- Senior Services Plus Inc.
- Shriver Center for Poverty Law
- Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living (INCIL)
- Health & Medicine Policy Research Group
- Jane Addams Senior Caucus
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SOURCE AARP Illinois