Springfield, Ill. – State Rep Jerry Costello II, D-Smithton, is standing with senior advocates to speak out against the Rauner Administration’s new rules that will strip care from 40,000 elderly residents, remove criminal background check requirements for caregivers and create new costly bureaucracy, all while reducing the overall quality of care for seniors.
“Seniors are a vital part of our communities in Southern Illinois,” Costello said. “It is our job to make sure they are protected and have the ability to live in the comfort of their own homes. They depend upon the services that are provided by caregivers, and we cannot continue to cut funding to such programs that help seniors.”
Costello is opposing a plan announced by Rauner’s Department on Aging to unilaterally cut 40,000 seniors currently receiving homecare through the Community Care Program, and place them in a new and untested program called the Community Reinvestment Program (CRP). Senior advocates including AARP and the Illinois Association of Community Care Program Homecare Providers have expressed concern that CRP lacks the standards and requirements that are critical to seniors’ health and security, while creating new layers of government bureaucracy.
The administration’s draft rules for CRP also remove regulations that currently require caregivers to undergo criminal background checks. Under the Community Care Program, companies are carefully screened to confirm they do not have a history of scams or fraud, and that all employees who come in contact with seniors do not have criminal or sexual convictions. This critical safeguard is removed under CRP.
The governor’s Department on Aging is using an administrative rulemaking process to advance their plan without getting approval or input from the Legislature. Costello is urging residents to call the Department on Aging at 800-252-8966 and speak out against the proposed cuts.
“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.”