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State $200 Million Behind in Payments to Agencies Providing Care to Thousands of Older Illinoisans
Date:12/10/2009

Nearly 200 care providers face shutdowns, layoffs due to State's inability to pay overdue bills, leaving Illinois' seniors to fend for themselves

AARP, advocates call on State to adopt urgent short-term measures or deal with the costly consequences of sending seniors to nursing homes

CHICAGO, Dec. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, an alliance of advocate organizations sounded the alarm on the consequences that Illinois' social service agencies face due to the State of Illinois' failure to pay its bills. AARP and a statewide alliance of care providers called on the State to take urgent measures to prevent dozens of agencies from having to shut down, lay off hundreds of workers, and force thousands of older Illinoisans into costly and often unsafe institutional care - something that will burden the state finances even more.

The State owes $200 million to 175 social service agencies, providing critical home and community based programs and services to 60,000 older Illinoisans.

While calling for urgent measures - including short-term borrowing - to deal with the immediate crisis, the group also urged Governor Quinn and the General Assembly to work together on fiscally responsible measures that address the crisis that has depleted the state finances and created a budget deficit currently estimated at $11 billion.

"Short-term borrowing is in reality a savings program - without it not only agencies will shut down, but institutional care for older individuals will cost the state a lot more money, with much worse outcomes," said AARP Senior Director of Advocacy, Nancy Nelson. "However, borrowing money to pay these bills is not a permanent solution. The State needs to immediately start working on a plan that addresses the state's long term fiscal problems."

"Many providers have reached the brink of collapse, so we need to bring more urgency to this issue and communicate to lawmakers the dire circumstances that exist in their communities because of the State's failure to pay providers," said Bob Thieman, Executive Director for the Illinois Association of Community Care Program Home Care Providers (IACCPHCP). "The bottom line is that seniors will not receive the care they need, and providers will not be able to deliver that care, leaving thousands of Illinois residents at risk."

Advocates underscored that the State needs to understand the chain reaction that would result from its failure to meet its obligations. When care providers are not paid, they cannot pay their rent, cover business expenses, or make payroll - which makes up nearly 90% of revenue for these service-intensive providers.

If they cannot tap into credit, which is often the case, they are left with no alternative but to lay off employees, cut back services, refuse new clients and shut their doors, forcing thousands of older adults into costly and often unsafe institutional care.

SOURCE AARP Illinois


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SOURCE AARP Illinois
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