The Illinois Coalition on Mental Health & Aging advocates for services and policies that promote quality care and the reduction and prevention of mental illnesses affecting older adults in Illinois.
On The National Scene
EVENT: Update on Federal Legislation” presented by Joel Miller to the National Coalition on Mental Health and Aging
DATE: July 14, 2015
INFO: Download the Powerpoint presentation by clicking the button below.
ISSUE: Reauthorization of the Older Americans Act in 2015
BILL: S.192 introduced by Senator Lamar Alexander (TN)
STATUS: Passed HELP Committee; placed on Senate calendar 2-1-15.
SUMMARY: (Sec. 3) Amends the Older Americans Act of 1965 (OAA), with respect to the Administration on Aging, to require the Director of the Office of Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs to collect and analyze best practices related to responding to elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation in long-term care facilities, and publish a report of such best practices.
ISSUE:Medicare Formulary Improvement Act of 2015
BILL:S. 648 introduced by Senators Charles Grassley (IA) and Sharron Brown (OH)
STATUS:Referred to Senate Finance Committee 3-4-15.
SUMMARY:This bill amends part D (Voluntary Prescription Drug Benefit Program) of title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act to require a sponsor offering a prescription drug plan (PDP) to include all covered part D drugs in the following categories and classes of drugs in the formulary: (1) anticonvulsants, (2) antidepressants, (3) antineoplastics, (4) antipsychotics, (5) antiretrovirals, and (6) immunosuppressants for the treatment of transplant rejection. Currently the Secretary of Health and Human Services is required to identify categories and classes of drugs of clinical concern.
For a Consumer Advocate’s Perspective on National Issues visit this website:
National Alliance on Mental Illiness: www.nami.org
NAMI provides updates and perspectives on a wide range of issues including:
- House and Senate Budget Resolutions for FY2016
- President Obama’s 2016 Budget: What does it mean for mental health?
- President Obama’s proposed plan to ensure the future of the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
At The State Level
Over the next 90 days, the Illinois Association of Area Agencies on Aging will publish weekly I4A Illinois Aging Network Alerts about the impact of the state budget impasse on Illinois Seniors and community-based senior services, such as meal programs, assisted transportation, home care, senior center operations, caregiver support, and Adult Protective Services.
The first I4A Illinois Aging Network Alert dated September 28, 2015 appears below. Future Alerts will be published by individual Area Agencies on Aging to show the impact of the budget impasse on older adults, caregivers, and community-based programs in their respective planning and service areas.
Illinois Aging Network Alert
A weekly report on the impact of the state budget crisis on Illinois Seniors and Community Programs on Aging, from
I4A ILLINOIS ASSOCIATION OF AREA AGENCIES ON AGING
Contact: Joy Paeth (618) 222-2561 or Jon Lavin (708) 383-0258
Monday, September 28, 2015
I4A’s recent survey of 70 of the 230 Senior Service Providers in Illinois found that:
- The lack of Illinois General Revenue Funds will diminish senior services by one-third and adversely impact 84,500 older adults over the next 90 days.
- Services to be rolled back include:
– Congregate and Home Delivered Meals
– Information & Assistance as Seniors need help during the Medicare open enrollment period\
– Transportation and assisted transportation to medical appointments
– Operations of multipurpose Senior Centers
– Adult Protective Services for older adults and persons with disabilities ages 19-59
– Homecare services for older adults not eligible for the Community Care Program
– Respite care services to support family caregivers
- Illinois General Revenue Funds comprise one-third of their operating revenues.
- Nearly 71% of providers serve 1,000 Seniors or more.
- 63% of providers do not have lines of credit with their bank.
- 28% of providers will cease operations if State General Revenue Funds are not received in at least 90 days.
This crisis can be averted. The Illinois Association of Area Agencies on Aging urges State government leaders to meet immediately, resolve their differences, enact a State Budget with sufficient revenues for FY2016, and prevent the loss of essential services and supports that enable older adults to live at home for as long as possible with dignity.
State Senator Heather Steans (D-7) filed legislation August 3, 2015 that would appropriate federal funds that flow through the State’s budget. The bill is SB 2042 Amendment 1. Passage of this bill would help agencies, programs, and services supported in part with federal funds, such as Community Services Block Grants, maternal and child health grants, community mental health grants, and grants for Older Americans Act programs.
The full text of this legislation can be found at: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/99/SB/PDF/09900SB2042sam001.pdf
Action Needed: Contact your Members of the Illinois State Senate today and urge them to support SB2042 Amendment 1.
State Budget for FY2016 – Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s proposed budget would:
- Cut the Medicaid budget by $1.4 billion by rolling back rates, cutting optional services, e.g., dental, reducing eligibility for services, and eliminating programs, e.g. health benefits for workers with disabilities
- Cut Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse by $27 million; and
- Cut Division of Mental Health by $44 million by reducing funds for mental health care coordination, special projects for non-Medicaid eligible services, and discontinuing programs, e.g., specialized mental health rehabilitation facility services, and hospital inpatient services.
- Raise the minimum determination of need (DON) score for the Community Care Program and the Home Services Program from 29 to 37 points – limiting eligibility for older adults applying for the Community Care Program effective July 1, 2015 and adults with disabilities applying for the Home Services Program.
State Legislative Update
The Illinois Coalition on Mental Health & Aging presents a condensed edition of a Legislative Report prepared by Terry Steczo for the Illinois Association of Area Agencies on Aging. We thank I4A for sharing this Report with the Coalition.
WHAT: Community hearing on proposed DON score change for the Community Care Program
WHEN: July 9, 201, 1:30 – 3:30 PM
WHERE:AgeOptions, 1048 Lake Street Suite 300, Oak Park, Illinois
REGISTER:contact Karen Abee at: firstname.lastname@example.org
INFO:call 708-383-0258 – Jonathan Lavin or Diane Slezak
SUMMARY:Governor Rauner has proposed a massive eligibility change to the Illinois Community Care Program – a program that helps to keep older Illinoisans in their homes and out of costly institutions. Governor Rauner has proposed raising the minimum Determination of Need score for the program – a score which determines eligibility and service levels for the program. The Determination of Need (DON) is essentially a score that determines the extent of an applicant’s need for Community Care Program services. Historically, individuals with a DON score of 29 or above were eligible for the program. Governor Rauner has proposed changing that score from 29 to 37 which will eliminate Community Care Program services for over 24,000 individuals across the state. These individuals would be at significant risk of premature nursing placement – at three times the cost to Illinois taxpayers – if the DON score change takes effect.
AgeOptions in coordination with AARP invites testimony from individuals and organizations who will be impacted by the proposed DON score change. All parties, including clients who will be impacted by the cuts, will be available for media comment following the committee meeting.
*This hearing is not sanctioned by the State of Illinois or the federal government.
ISSUE: Grants to Integrate Behavioral Healthcare and Primary Healthcare for Older Adults
BILL: HB 3753 sponsored by David Leitch (R-73, Peoria)
STATUS:Passed both houses on May 20, 2015
SUMMARY:Amends the Illinois Act on Aging. Provides that subject to appropriations, the Department on Aging may provide grants to public and private non-profit entities for projects that demonstrate ways to integrate mental health services for older adults into primary health care settings, such as FQHCs, primary care clinics, and private practice sites.
TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE ADVOCACY
- Tell your story – and empower consumers to tell their stories;
- Be factual – always tell the truth, be a reliable information source;
- Be authentic – stay true to the voice of the people you represent;
- Be present – don’t underestimate the power of showing up;
- Be engaging – invite lawmakers to share their stories about your issue;
- Be strategic – know when to act and send your message;
- Be persistent – ask lawmakers to commit to supporting your position;
- Be a good team player – coalesce with other advocates, report back; and
- Be thankful – recognize and thank lawmakers for their support.