We agree that Medicaid reform is essential to reduce state spending. Community-based services for Illinois seniors have effectively reduced the growth of state Medicaid spending for long term care. Between 1980 and 2008, the number of persons 75+ increased 54%; Illinois Department of Aging Community Care Program (CCP) participants increased by over 66,000, while nursing home residency declined by 8%. For 2008, CCP services saved the State $260 million in senior-related health care costs. Monthly state spending for nursing home care for a Medicaid-eligible older adult currently average $3,000, compared to $800/month for home care, and $30/month for home delivered meals. We urge state lawmakers to respect the preference of older adults to live in their own home and to have the option to return home after a nursing home stay. We urge the General Assembly to approve the Governor’s FY2013 budget for the Illinois Department on Aging. We support state funding for community-based services for over 493,000 Illinois seniors, especially information and assistance, transportation, and home delivered meals. We support increased state funding for the Community Care Program to serve over 84,000 older adults. We support state funding for the Elder Abuse and Neglect Program to respond to over 12,000 reports of elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation. We support increased state funding for the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program to uphold the rights of 140,681 residents in long term care facilities. And, we support continued funding for Illinois Cares Rx pharmaceutical assistance for 177,000 low-income seniors and persons with disabilities.
Sincerely, Tracy Barczewski, Executive Director
Midland Area Agency on Aging