SPRINGFIELD – Following is the joint statement of Access Living and SEIU Healthcare Illinois following passage Wednesday of Senate Bill 261, legislation to reverse the implementation of Rauner rules that have undermined the principle of choice in home healthcare services for people with disabilities as part of the Home Services Program:
“Avoiding costly and preventable institutionalization by ensuring that people with disabilities have the right to choose and manage their own personal assistants has been the guiding principle of the highly successful Home Services Program for decades. Through the Home Services Program, thousands of people with disabilities live in their own homes with support from workers they trust to provide personal care. In hearings yesterday, we saw a Rauner administration struggling to show how their implementation of overtime limits did not fundamentally undermine this principle of choice.
“That’s why we applaud the passage of Senate Bill 261, which further enshrines the independence of consumers who rely on home healthcare to stay in their homes and in their communities with dignity. For three painful months this year, consumers of the program endured hardship and uncertainty when the Department of Human Services implemented unfair and costly overtime rules for the Home Services Program. They were shut out of the process, but instead of listening to their stories and the cries of activists around the state to develop a plan that supports people with disabilities and their personal assistants the Rauner administration chose to go back and apply their rules via an administrative process they unlawfully ignored the first time.
“Senate Bill 261 is just one part of the effort to tell the Rauner administration, it must incorporate the feedback of stakeholders and honor the commitment to independence and choice that have served as the foundation for the Home Services Program since its inception. We call for its swift passage in the House.”