Senator Steans passes legislation preserving Community Care Program for seniors

Senator Steans passes legislation preserving Community Care Program for seniors
Dear Friends,Yesterday the legislature sent to the governor two bills I introduced in response to revelations that the Community Care Program (CCP) has run out of money. House Bill 207, a supplemental budget measure, injects $173 million into the program, while HB 2275 makes changes designed to keep costs down in the future.Like last year’s landmark Medicaid reforms, these two pieces of legislation accomplish the dual goals of saving money and sustaining a program on which low-income individuals depend for their quality of life.

CCP, administered by the Department on Aging, serves 84,400 senior citizens who can live independently but need supervision or assistance with tasks such as cooking, cleaning and remembering to take prescription medications. On March 15, the program exhausted its fiscal year 2013 appropriation. Because state revenues are expected to be higher this year than originally estimated, the state has the money to continue funding the program in the short-term.

Sustaining and reforming Community Care became an immediate priority because the services the program provides are necessary to keep seniors in their homes instead of in more expensive long-term care settings. But it’s not enough just to bail out one program after another; we need to keep asking whether these much-needed services can be provided at a better value to the taxpayer.

Budget DocToday we approved reforms such as electronic visit verification, participation in a federal incentive program and improvements in Medicaid claims so that we receive all federal matching funds to which we are entitled. (The chart to the right lists the cost-saving measures and enhanced revenue in HB 2275.) These changes will result in a total reduction of $147.5 million in General Revenue Fund expenditures for Community Care next year. I anticipate that next year, instead of scrambling to pay providers and keep seniors in their homes, we’ll be looking at a more efficient program that takes better advantage of federal funding opportunities.

Please feel free to contact me at 773-769-1717 or steans@senatedem.illinois.gov with any comments.

 

Sincerely,
Heather Steans
Senator Heather Steans
7th District – Illinois