Funding for Illinois Home Care Program to Run Dry Next Week

An Illinois program that enables 80,000 elderly and disabled people to live at home will run out of money next week, according to Crain’s Chicago Business. 

The Illinois Association of Community Care Program Healthcare Providers projected that money to fund the program would be exhausted by March 15, Crain’s reports, about three-and-a-half months before the fiscal year ends on June 30. 

It would be the second time in two years that the money ran out before the end of the fiscal year, writes Crain’s, though this year’s warning came earlier than last year. 

Blaming a backlog of overdue bills from last year—which consumed a quarter of the state’s $687 million budgeted for 2013—the Association says the lack of funding will force smaller nonprofit home health agencies to close, as well as trigger layoffs and leave thousands of seniors in search for alternatives to in-home care. 

At the end of 2012, Crain’s notes that Illinois had a backlog of unpaid bills of $8.7 billion.

Unless the state takes action to curb its public pension costs, financial watchdogs say the figure could soar to nearly $22 billion in the next five years. 

The program currently serves about 80,000 people per month, according to the Department on Aging, its 40 providers employing about 25,000 home care assistants. 

In January, Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka urged lawmakers to either approve spending more money on the program, or require state agencies with surplus funds to return them for others to use, Crain’s writes.

While the legislature did approve some additional funding, it did not include any money for elderly and disabled individuals.

Read the Crain’s Chicago Business article.

Written by Jason Oliva

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