CHICAGO – State Rep. Juliana Stratton, D-Chicago, is opposing a new Rauner Administration proposal that will reduce the health benefits for 40,000 elderly residents by causing them to change to a new, untested program, remove criminal background check requirements for caregivers and increase administrative bloat.
“Many low-income seniors live in my district, and ensuring they have access to high quality health care services that do not make them go bankrupt is a major part of my promise of social and economic justice,” said Stratton. “That is why reading proposals that cut the health care programs low-income seniors benefit from is sickening.”
Gov. Rauner’s Department on Aging released a proposal recently to remove 40,000 seniors from the state’s Community Care Program and place them in a new program called the Community Reinvestment Program (CRP). Since CRP lacks the standards critical to ensure senior health outcomes and financial security, senior groups expressing concern include AARP and the Illinois Association of Community Care Program Homecare Providers.
The administration’s draft rules for CRP also remove regulations requiring caregivers to undergo criminal background checks. Under the Community Care Program, companies must screen caretakers to ensure they do not have a history of engaging in fraud, and that all employees in contact with seniors do not have criminal or sexual convictions.
“The Department on Aging’s proposed Community Reinvestment Program is a cost cutting, political tactic at the expense of over 40,000 of Illinois most vulnerable senior citizens, and their loved ones,” said Ryan Gruenenfelder, AARP Illinois Director of Advocacy. “The proposed program hinges on service availability by geographic regions, on the continuation of budget appropriations, and the sole authority of the Department to amend eligibility standards with zero legislative oversight. The proposed program is a catalyst for seniors to face premature nursing home placement. Our state can implement common sense, compassionate and cost-effective reforms to maintain our state’s current Community Care Program without jeopardizing the lives and well-being of thousands of Illinois’ greatest generation.”
Rauner’s Department on Aging is using an administrative rulemaking process to advance their plan without receiving input or approval from the Legislature. Stratton is urging residents to call the Department on Aging at 800-252-8966 and speak out against the proposed cuts to the Community Care Program.