May 7, 2018

I4A Alert

Illinois Aging Network Alert

A report of the impact of the state budget on Illinois Seniors and Community Programs on Aging, from I4A - Illinois Association of Area Agencies on Aging

Contact:  Jon Lavin 708-383-0258 (I4A President)

#ILOlderAdults

How Fitting? May is Appropriations and Older Americans Month!

 

The Illinois Aging Network is asking you to encourage full 2019 funding for the Illinois Department on Aging and to report back to us on your success!  To help you, please reference our Hash Tag - #ILOlderAdults

 

The Aging Network, which is made up of the 13 Area Agencies on Aging and 235 community based senior service agencies, reached 492,396 people in the 2017 Federal Fiscal Year that ended September 30, 2017.  Many of the agencies and staff persons in these organizations will be asking their clients, family members and others to communicate the importance of community based services by using the hash tag - #ILOlderAdults

The measurement of an effective budget appropriation for Illinois seniors includes the award of the following current funding (except as noted) through the Illinois Department on Aging:

$    8,600,000 for Area Agency on Aging Planning and Service Grants (an increase of $1,051,700 from $7,548,300 currently appropriated)

$    21,800,000 for Home Delivered Meals that increase the effectiveness of the federal support for meals.

$      4,500,000 for an increase to the Illinois Long Term Care Facilities and Home Care Ombudsman programs which work because of the participation of local organizations, identified by area agencies on aging, that are involved in the lives of nursing home or isolated home care clients.  This is combined with the $2,600,000 funding from the Ombudsman Fund which is supported by a variety of special state funds.

$   22,900,000 as requested in the Budget proposal for Adult Protective Services which for the first time will include Self Neglect funding for the entire year.

$  69,600,000 as requested in the Budget proposal for the Illinois Care Coordination Unit System - supporting organizations in your districts to reach and assist the 80,000 plus individuals who are assessed for the Community Care Program (with approximately half served by Managed Care) and guiding thousands of people to quality home care alternatives to unnecessary nursing home placements in the Choices program).

$924,000,000 for home care and Adult Day Services for the CCP clientele who remain in the Illinois Department on Aging program. This should include appropriate wages and health care for current home care workers, increases in Adult Day Services rates, allowances for clients moved to Managed Care and program growth. This request is $170,000,000 more than the Governor’s proposed $754,000,000. The additional dollars pay for Home Care FY18 rate increases, FY19 rate increases, and FY19 adult day rate increases. 

$     1,751,200 for AAA Grants for Community Based Services with equal allocations to each of the 13 planning and service areas in Illinois.

               $        273,800 for Long Term Care Systems Development through area agencies on aging.

$    1,800,000 for the Senior Health Assistance Program (SHAP) which is a major Illinois complement to the federally funded $2,500,000 State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).

               $       190,000 for Senior Employment Specialist assistance to older workers through the Area Agencies on Aging.

And ongoing support for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren recommended at $300,000; RSVP at $551,800; and, Foster Grandparents at $241,400.

 

Our Ask – Look at the 2019 Appropriations Legislation – if the above numbers are there, tell us all that we are “OKAY” in #ILOlderAdults  - Your Constituents, their families and the staff of community agencies will learn directly from you that Illinois cares about community based senior services.

Illinois Aging Network Alert

I4A Alert 

Illinois Aging Network Alert

A report of the impact of the state budget crisis on Illinois Seniors and Community Programs on Aging, from I4A - Illinois Association of Area Agencies on Aging (prepared by the East Central Illinois Area Agency on Aging, Inc.)

Contact:  Jon Lavin 708-383-0258 (Vice-Chair), Tracy Barczewski 618-532-1853 (I4A President)
 
IL Aging Nutrition 

The East Central Illinois Area Agency on Aging asked their home delivered meal clientele to tell them what the service means to them.  

Illinois General Revenue Funds (GRF) for Home Delivered Meals constitutes an estimated 67% of what is needed to respond to the escalated demand for home delivered meals.  In late January, the Comptroller released 1/9 of the budgeted state funds for Meals in State Fiscal Year 2018.  

What home delivered meal clients in Illinois value in the service

During FY 2017, of the 3,300 East Central Illinois home delivered meal participants who were surveyed reported the following startling statistics (based on a 10% survey response sample):

  • 55% of nutrition meal participants indicated the meal provided is their main source of food.
  • 66% of home-delivered meal recipients think their health has improved and indicated they feel better.
  • 17% do not always have enough money or financial assistance to buy food.
  • 13% in the past have had to choose between buying food and paying their medical bills and another 12% have had to choose between buying food and paying their utility bills.
  • Nearly 10% indicated they had to skip meals because they had no food or money.

Illinois home delivered meal participants are our most vulnerable population.  Without reliable, consistent and current funding, the home delivered meals program stops, and home delivered meal participants face the risk of nursing home admission.   If we calculate a conservative estimate of 25% of home delivered meal participants facing nursing home admission only in East Central Illinois, the cost of nursing home care to the clients, the families, and Illinois tax payers would add up to over $56 million(Based on the Illinois median cost of nursing home care at $187/semi-private room.)   

Plus - An Added Threat at the Federal Level!

Area Agencies on Aging also are facing the continued threat of a shutdown of the federal government!  This will stop the federal funds we receive that are helping us pay the costs of the all the services we and the community agencies provide for older adults and their caregivers. Many of Illinois community based programs will face difficulties staying open!

Our Message! Thank you for supporting meals. Please assure that Illinois has the cash to keep the program going!

Please contact Susan Real, Executive Director of the East Central Illinois Area Agency on Aging in Peoria for information on the programs and survey reported here: 

Distributed for I4A by

Jonathan Lavin
Chief Executive Officer
AgeOptions
1048 Lake Street
Oak Park, Illinois 60301
708-383-0258
708-524-0870 fax
708-309-1361 cell

I4A Alert for December 2017

I4A Alert  

Illinois Aging Network Alert

A report of the impact of the state budget crisis on Illinois Seniors and Community Programs on Aging, from  I4A - Illinois Association of Area Agencies on Aging (prepared by the Western Illinois Area Agency on Aging)

Contact:  Jon Lavin 708-383-0258 (Vice Chair), Tracy Barczewski 618-532-1853 (I4A President)

Receiving Payment

Our November alert stated, “Illinois’ financial challenge remains the Aging Network’s major threat.”  This is no longer just a threat!

Illinois has placed our agencies in financial jeopardy. We cannot continue to provide services when there is no time line for payment! Yet we are expected to continue to subsidize the state of Illinois by using our lines of credit, fund raising, furloughing our employees, not replacing employees when they leave etc. 

Illinois owes the 13 Area Agencies on Aging and the many community agencies we fund the following:

  • $8.4 million for SFY 2017 which ended on June 30, 2017 
  • $8.4 million for SFY 2018 (This includes the Home Delivered Meal funds that we were receiving on a regular basis through FY2017 as Illinois must pay these funds through a consent decree.  We have not received any funding for October and November 2017.)

Every community in Illinois benefits from thriving local human service organizations! We are small businesses that collectively employ many people who pay taxes, spend money locally and work hard in assisting our communities to thrive.  We need to be promptly paid for the services we provide!  No other business would continue to provide a service without some payment timeline.  We may run non-profits but like any business we expect payment for services provided.  We must pay our employees, pay utility bills and other costs of doing business.  The community agencies we fund for Nutrition services must pay for food, maintenance of service, new tires, and fuel for vehicles to deliver meals to homebound older adults.  Transportation service providers must also pay employees, meet the costs of doing business, maintain vehicles, and pay for fuel.  The same costs are borne by the senior centers we fund. 

Area Agencies on Aging are also facing the threat of a shutdown of the federal government!  This will stop the federal funds we receive that are helping us pay the costs of the all the services we and the community agencies we fund provide for older adults and their caregivers. Many of us will face difficulties staying open!

Fed Govt stops payment               Cars

P.S. All of us wish you a wonderful holiday and safe, secure and happy 2018!

Distributed for I4A by:
Jonathan Lavin
Chief Executive Officer
AgeOptions

I4A Alert

I4A Alert

Illinois Aging Network Alert

A report of 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:  Jon Lavin 708-383-0258 (Vice Chair), Tracy Barczewski 618-532-1853 (I4A President)

A Turkey for Thanksgiving - FINANCIAL CHALLENGES STILL REMAIN

While the 2018 (Illinois State) budget took positive steps to address the financial challenges faced by the state, there remains a lot of work to do in order to restore solid and long-term financial footing. Therefore, while we remain committed to serving residents of the state of Illinois, we will continue to pursue acquisition opportunities outside of Illinois to further diversify our revenue, with the ultimate goal to reduce our Illinois business to under 35% of consolidated revenue.”,(Addus Homecare CEO Dirk Allison as reported in the Home Healthcare News, 11/9/17).  Addus earlier this year moved its headquarters from Illinois to Frisco, Texas, citing that one of its biggest challenges was the two-year budget impasse which held up tens of millions in Medicaid payments under the Community Care Program.  A strong business climate begins with the respect and support shown to our elders and those with special needs. (https://homehealthcarenews.com/2017/11/addus-aims-to-limit-illinois-exposure/)

Illinois’ financial challenge remains the Aging Network’s major threat. The 13 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and their funded community-based providers last received ANY General Revenue Funds (GRF) in October of 2016 (with the exception of Home Delivered Meals and the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program). That GRF was paid in arrears for SFY16 services which ended June 30, 2016. 

AAAs depend on state General Revenue Fund payments to sustain community services. Time has run out and services can no longer be delivered and reimbursed without State payment.  The community just does not have the cash reserves or lines of credit to sustain the Department on Aging backlog of payments.  The State of Illinois owes the thirteen AAAs over $8.4 million in GRF for services they provided in FY17, which ended on June 30, 2017. That total, as of November 10, includes:

Title III Admin/Service Match                                                       $2.4 million

Community Based Services                                                          $5.2 million                       

Adult Protective Services Support                                               $480,000

Long Term Care Systems Development                                      $227,000

Senior Employment Specialists Program                                    $136,000

While the enactment of the SFY18 budget took positive steps to address financial challenges, to date it has not resulted in payment of any SFY17 General Revenue Funds.  Aging services are critical to keeping your constituents safe and independent in the community.  With older adults living longer, Illinois should be preserving these programs, not destabilizing them!  AAAs and the aging network will always remain committed to serving older adults in Illinois but we cannot continue without payment. 

Distributed for I4A by:

Jonathan Lavin
Chief Executive Officer
AgeOptions
1048 Lake Street
Oak Park, Illinois 60301

n4a Legislative Update: FY 2018 Funding Advances

advocacy.alert.benefit

FY 2018 Funding Advances

House Approves $14.2 Million Increase for OAA Title III B Supportive Services

September 14, 2017

The two weeks since lawmakers returned to DC have seen a flurry of legislative activity surrounding federal funding for FY 2018. Last week, Congress and the Administration avoided an impending shutdown threat after passing a short-term spending bill in advance of the September 30 end of FY 2017, but there are still many decisions to hash out before finalizing FY 2018 federal funding. Currently, both the House and Senate have until December 8 to either pass a final, long-term measure to keep federal dollars flowing through the full fiscal year or figure out another temporary compromise. n4a’s recent Legislative Update previewed what must-do’s are in store for Congress this fall, and while some progress has been made at least toward avoiding government default and shutdown at the end of the month, there is still a lengthy list of outstanding legislative priorities.

Status of FY 2018 Federal Funding

After a surprising concession from President Trump last week regarding the length of a debt limit extension, Congress passed a bill, known as a continuing resolution (CR), to keep federal programs funded at FY 2017 levels temporarily and to extend the debt limit until December 8. Because a first installment of more than $15 billion in emergency funding for Hurricane Harvey recovery was also included in the deal, lawmakers were able to hustle this package to a speedy approval.

The CR means that funding for Older Americans Act and other aging programs will continue at current levels through the first few months of FY 2018. This short-term funding agreement gives Members some more time to continue advancing final FY 2018 funding bills, but both lawmakers and advocates have a lot of work to do over the next two months to reach agreement on a longer-term measure, and House and Senate proposals look very different.

House Progress on Older Americans Act Funding

Appropriators in the House were first out of the gate with an FY 2018 OAA funding proposal. In July, the full House Appropriations Committee passed a spending bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) that would level fund most core OAA programs, but that would also eliminate funding for the State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs) and drastically reduce funding for senior workforce development and elder justice programs.

In an effort to restore “regular order” to the appropriations process, House leaders bundled the eight remaining bills (out of a total of 12) into an “omnibus” package to advance it on the House floor in the fastest possible way. The omnibus passed on a largely party-line vote over Democratic objection to overall reduced funding for domestic programs and controversial policy riders. The $1.23 trillion package, which now includes all 12 House-passed measures, is now heading to the Senate. The austerity of the omnibus and the policy riders, however, mean the Senate won’t take it up as is.

OAA III B Amendment Success!

Debate over the House FY 2018 omnibus bill was the first time in many years that the Labor-HHS portion of the bill has been discussed on the House floor, which meant that there was an opportunity for Members to offer amendments to the measure. As detailed in our recent Advocacy Alerts, n4a has worked with several key offices to offer amendments to increase funding for core OAA Title III programs to the levels that were agreed to in the 2016 OAA reauthorization.

Both Reps. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Martha McSally (R-AZ) offered amendments to increase funding for Title III programs. Rep. Bonamici’s amendment, which would have increased Title III B, C and E programs by a total of $51 million, failed on a voice vote on Tuesday night.

House floor statements from Reps. Suzanne Bonamici, Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Barbara Lee (D-CA) in support of OAA programs are viewable here: https://youtu.be/GIKlryhpzdE.

However, we are thrilled that today the House agreed by voice vote to adopt the amendment from Rep. McSally to increase Title III B supportive services funding by $14.2 million to authorized amounts. With the exception of a very modest $2.5 million increase for III B services achieved in FY 2017, this is the first significant increase for these programs since they were slashed during sequestration, and it represents a major advocacy win for the Aging Network!

Senate Progress on Older Americans Act Funding

On the other side of the Capitol, Senate appropriators also made progress on their funding proposal for OAA and other aging programs. Last week both the subcommittee and full Appropriations Committee introduced a bill that would entirely flat fund OAA and many other aging programs at FY 2017 levels.

This bill rejects the House-proposed cuts to SHIP, SCSEP and Elder Justice programs, and ultimately would maintain the status quo for aging funding in FY 2018. While flat funding is often felt as a cut for many local agencies, in this very difficult budget environment, the Senate-proposed bill is also a major advocacy win. More details about both the House and the Senate spending bills are available in n4a’s updated Appropriations Chart.

Next Steps for FY 2018 Federal Funding

Whether or not lawmakers will be able to pass a full-year federal funding bill by December 8 depends on if they can reach a bipartisan agreement on overall spending levels. The end of FY 2017 on September 30 is also the end of the current, two-year bipartisan budget agreement that slightly raised budget caps and relieved both the pressure of and threat from sequestration. Because achieving a full-year plan to keep the government running will require support from at least some Senate Democrats, negotiators are discussing—though no public progress has been made on—reaching another bipartisan budget deal to lift current budget caps.

In the meantime, national and local aging advocates must respond to both the House and Senate funding proposals. Ultimately, we want Congress to adopt the Senate-proposed funding levels for SHIP, SCSEP, Elder Justice and several other key line-items that support aging programs. We also want Congress to adopt the House-passed increase for OAA Title III B programs, which is long overdue.

Stay tuned to n4a for updated resources and tools to use to promote both of these messages. We also encourage you to reach out to your Members of Congress now to secure meetings and site visits during the fall when they are back in their Districts and States during recess!

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This Legislative Update is an n4a membership benefit. For more information about these and other federal aging policy issues, please contact n4a’s policy team: Amy Gotwals (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and Autumn Campbell (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), 202.872.0888.

Get in touch

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Phone: 309-829-2065
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