New law boosts funding for Affordable Assisted Living program

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An Illinois nursing home reform bill signed into law this week includes funding for alternative supportive living that is part of the continuum of care offered by some senior care providers.

Gov. JB Pritzker (D) signed into law HB246 in a community Pathway to Living on Tuesday, tying nursing home funding to staffing levels and quality measures, and creating a new pay scale for certified practical nurses. The law also provides more than $500 million to support the state’s most vulnerable seniors, with additional funding for the state’s Supportive Living Model, a Medicaid-funded alternative to nursing homes.

The Assisted Living Program, sometimes referred to as the Affordable Assisted Living Model, is administered by the Illinois Department of Health and Family Services. The program was developed as part of Medicaid’s Home and Community Services program as an alternative to nursing homes for low-income seniors and people with disabilities. Residents with support services can choose from a menu of services not routinely covered by Medicaid, including intermittent nursing care, social/recreational programs, health and exercise programs, medication monitoring, attendant services, personal care, laundry and housekeeping, maintenance, meals and snacks .

The program provides affordable housing and health care to 11,500 low-income seniors and people with disabilities in 154 supportive communities across the state. Residents must be eligible for nursing home-level care, but do not require 24-hour skilled care. Per state, the daily rate for the Medicaid Life Support Program is 54.3 % of the nursing home rate, saving the state between $176 million and $221 million annually while allowing individuals to live in a less restrictive community setting.

Prtizker signed into law the legislation at Victory Center in Roseland, an independent living and supportive community run by Chicago-based seniors’ residence developer, owner and operator Pathway to Living.

“Additional revenue provides more funding for staffing, care, programs and equipment, so we can provide seniors with an affordable, quality housing and care option to help them achieve their dreams and achieve their goals,” Crystal Wills, executive director of the Victory Center of Roseland. said in a statement. “Supportive living will now be more accessible, attractive, and affordable than ever for Illinois seniors who are eligible for financial assistance and whose care needs can be better met in a care facility. “

The legislation “recognizes the tremendous need, now more than ever, to protect Illinois’ elderly and disabled people in our care,” Karin Zosel, executive director of the Affordable Assisted Living Coalition, said in a statement. press release issued by the governor’s office.

“Through the new investments in the life support program provided by this legislation, Illinois will further strengthen the continuum of long-term care for vulnerable Illinois State residents,” she said. .

The law comes into force on July 1.