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Medicaid Home Care Providers Going Unpaid Due to Illinois Budget Impasse

September 3, 2015

Illinois, facing a budget crisis, has withheld payments from its in-home Community Care Program (CCP) and other home and community-based services programs for the last two months.

The state faces a $5 billion budget gap in the fiscal year that began July 1. It has been operating without a budget since then.

The Chicago Tribune reported on August 30 that the ongoing delays in implementing a budget is putting tens of thousands of vulnerable residents in jeopardy.

CCP, a Medicaid waiver program, allows an estimated 80,000 elders to remain in their own homes and communities instead of entering an institutional care setting.

Earlier this summer, a federal district judge ordered the state to continue to make payments to Medicaid providers, including CCP-affiliated home care providers. But it has not held the state in contempt for its continued failure to make payments.

In the absence of the payments, providers have been forced to exhaust lines of credit and even take out loans to make payroll, the Tribune reported.

“The expectation that Medicaid-funded long-term care providers will continue to provide care to low-income and vulnerable citizens without payment for those services is short-sighted and doesn’t fully consider the strains it places on them — and the direct-care staff who provide the hands-on care to elders and people with disabilities,” PHI Midwest Director Tameshia Bridges Mansfield wrote in a letter to the Tribune published on August 4.

The CCP program and the Home Services Program for people with physical disabilities have also been targeted for cuts by Gov. Bruce Rauner (R), who wants to reduce funding for these in-home services by tightening the programs’ eligibility requirements. Illinois’ Democratic-controlled legislature has battled back against Rauner’s proposed cuts.

On September 2, the Illinois House passed a measure that would keep some of the eligibility requirements in place, allowing an estimated 24,000 seniors and 10,000 people with disabilities to continue to receive services. The legislation, which passed with veto-proof majorities, goes to Rauner for consideration.

— by Matthew Ozga

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