Governor's Proposed Eligbility Changes Puts Thousands Of Older Illinoisans At Risk

Older Illinoisans Testify at Joint Senate Appropriations I and Human Services Committee Hearing

Jul 14, 2015, 17:47 ET from AARP Illinois

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., July 14, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Thousands of older Illinoisans are at a risk of being cut off from critical home and community based services because of Governor Rauner's proposed eligibility change to the state's Community Care Program (CCP).  The change could force thousands of older adults into nursing homes prematurely—at three times the cost to Illinois taxpayers. CCP clients and advocates testified today at a joint committee hearing of the Senate Appropriations and Human Services Committees demonstrating the harsh impact of the proposed change. AARP also advocates for a minimum DON score to be authorized in state statue.

Governor Rauner has proposed increasing the minimum Determination of Need (DON) score for CCP.  The DON score is a score that determines the extent of an applicant's eligibility and need for services under CCP.  Governor Rauner has proposed increasing the minimum eligibility score from 29 to 37 – effectively cutting off services for over 24,000 CCP clients statewide. 

"Increasing the DON score for CCP clients will place thousands of vulnerable older Illinoisans at a significant risk of premature and costly nursing home placement," said Ryan Gruenenfelder, Manager of Advocacy and Outreach for AARP Illinois. "Reversing Gov. Rauner's proposed measure is critical for the health and well-being of Illinois residents."

John Schnell, 86, is a Springfield resident who, through CCP services, is able to live at home with his wife, Mary, who is his primary caregiver. Mr. Schnell, a Marine Corps veteran, would lose his CCP services if the DON score change takes effect. 

"Getting kicked off a program because of the difference of a few points, a program that has allowed for my husband to stay at home with me isn't right," said Mary Schnell. "John goes to adult daycare and receives transportation services thanks to CCP.  Without those services, my husband could be forced into a nursing home. Not receiving those services, after relying on them for so long, is wrong."

AARP, on behalf of its 1.7 million Illinois members has strongly opposed the Governor's proposed changes to the DON score and has urged him to cancel the proposal which would seriously impact thousands of older citizens and the communities in which they live.