SPRINGFIELD- Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation to help provide disabled individuals more options in long-term care. Senate Bill 765 reinforces the State’s commitment to enhancing long-term care options for disabled individuals. The “Money Follows the Person” initiative allows the State to receive federal funding to pay for more home and community-based care for those in need of long-term care support. Illinois was successful in securing a highly competitive federal grant to continue its efforts in rebalancing the long-term care system for people with disabilities.
“For disabled individuals who need long-term care, and want to remain in their homes and communities, there may not always be good care options. By signing this law, we’re taking an important step forward to rebalance our long-term care system, while addressing the needs of our disabled population,” said Gov. Blagojevich.
SB 765, sponsored by State Senator Maggie Crotty (D-Oak Forest) and State Representative Kathleen Ryg (D-Vernon Hills), requires the Department on Aging and the Departments of Healthcare and Family Services and Human Services, in conjunction with the Illinois Housing
Development Authority and the Department of Public Health to:
- Identify and reduce barriers that would restrict individuals with disabilities from accessing appropriate and necessary long-term care services in the settings of their choice;
- Increase the use of the home and community-based long-term care services in lieu of institutional facilities;
- Increase the ability of the State Medicaid program to ensure continued services to eligible individuals who choose to transition from an institution to a community setting; and
- Ensure appropriate and quality care exists in the community, while continually improving services.
This initiative was given to states that establish programs to support transition of nursing facility residents to qualified community settings. Illinois’ budget for the program will total $79.5 million over five years, with $55.7 committed by the federal government in the form of enhanced Medicaid match for project participants and $23.8 million in increased state spending for home and community-based services. To meet these increased levels of spending, the bill commits the State to transition approximately 3,400 seniors and persons with disabilities from institutional to home and community-based settings over the next 5 years. The Departments of Healthcare and Family Services, Human Services and Aging have plans to move individuals currently in their care, who choose to receive community based services, to reach this stated commitment.
Through this demonstration project, Illinois is eligible to receive a higher percentage of federal matching dollars to help cover the costs for people moving out of institutions and into community settings. States may also be allowed to receive matching funds on services for which they otherwise would not, such as certain transitional costs. As required under the federal demonstration, the higher matching rate will be applied to certain services provided to an individual in the program for a one-year period after the individual moves out of an institution and into the community. The State must continue to provide community services after that period as long as the person needs community services and is Medicaid eligible.
SB 765 becomes effective immediately.