Action Needed! Home Services Bill to Be Heard Wednesday

This is an advocacy alert from Access Living’s Director of Advocacy, Amber Smock. The alert calls for support of Illinois HB 4351, which would preserve the DON Score at 29 and protect Home Services for people with disabilities.

Dear Access Living friends and allies,

Some of you probably know that President Obama is scheduled to speak at our State Capitol this Wednesday, but that’s not the only thing going on Wednesday in Springfield! At 4:30 pm on Wednesday, the House Human Services Committee will meet, and one of the bills they will consider is House Bill 4351 (HB 4351). This is the new version of what you used to know as the Determination of Need (DON) assessment score bill. Representative Greg Harris, as the chief sponsor, will put HB 4351 before the committee to review.

HB 4351 is the same as the previous versions of the DON score bill. The major points are:

• Keeping the DON score at 29, not changing it to 37
• Ensuring that when a new assessment tool is introduced,
that less than 1% of people currently in the Home Services
Program and Community Care Program get dropped
• Anyone determined to be ineligible for services due to the
updated assessment tool shall continue to be eligible for
services for at least one year following that determination
and must be reassessed no earlier than 11 months after
that determination.

As you know, Governor Rauner has sent a letter to the Federal Centers on Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to state that he is committed to keeping the DON at 29. So why do we need to pass HB 4351? Because people with disabilities and seniors who have home services are tired of our lives hanging in the balance. We need to know that in transitioning to a new assessment tool, people’s services will not be eliminated, and that anyone who does get dropped has a fair chance to be re-evaluated or find new supports. HB 4351 is about preservation and stability.

Remember, the lives of 10,000 people with disabilities and 34,000 seniors are at stake.

We need advocates to take action! Before legislative committee hearings, anyone can file an electronic witness slip to show whether they are for (a proponent) or against (opponent) a bill. You can file a witness slip to show your support for HB 4351. Go to this link and:

• Fill out your name and contact information
• State who you represent (if you are just representing
yourself, say “self”)
• Check the bubble for “proponent” to show that your position
is to support HB 4351
• In the testimony section, check “record of appearance only”
• Enter the Captcha text and click the box to show that you
agree to the Terms of Agreement, then click on Create Slip.

That’s it!

Please help call your friends and families to action to support HB 4351.

Access Living and INCIL will be present at the hearing, and we are counting on you for your online support!

Amber Smock
Director of Advocacy, Access Living