CHICAGO – August 2, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today announced the appointment of Michael Gelder as acting director of the Illinois Department on Aging. He replaces Charles Johnson, who recently retired.
“Michael Gelder has shown time and again that he is able to bring people together to solve important and often-complex issues,” Governor Quinn said. “His experience and commitment to public service will be valuable in this transition. I also thank Charles Johnson for his years of leadership at the Department on Aging.”
Gelder had been serving as Governor Quinn’s senior health policy advisor since 2009. In that role he led efforts to modernize and reform Illinois’ healthcare and long-term care systems. His efforts have resulted in landmark Medicaid reform legislation that is expected to save the state hundreds of millions of dollars over the coming years. Additionally, he was chair of the Governor’s Nursing Home Safety Task Force that produced historic reform legislation signed into law in 2010. He holds a master’s degree in health administration from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and a bachelor’s degree with honors from Michigan State University.
Charles Johnson led efforts to strengthen state and federally-supported client services, protect elder rights, and streamline operations. The department has also worked to rebalance the state’s long term care system to enhance in-home and community-based services for older persons. Other service enhancements include adding flexible senior services, emergency home response service, comprehensive care coordination, and new demonstration projects to improve community supportive services that seniors need and prove more affordable than institutional care.
The Illinois Department on Aging serves and advocates for older Illinoisans and their caregivers by administering quality and culturally appropriate programs that promote partnerships and encourage independence, dignity and quality of life.