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October 9, 2008

Blagojevich Administration Announces More Supportive Living for Low-Income Seniors, People with Physical Disabilities
Over 100 Supportive Living Facilities Now Open, 46 more currently planned

CHICAGOSeniors and people with physical disabilities in Illinois continue to have more housing options through the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ (HFS) Supportive Living Program, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today.  There are now over 100 supportive living facilities (SLFs) operating in Illinois, giving approximately 6,900 individuals a living arrangement that enables them to retain their independence while having round the clock access to health services.


“Nursing homes are an excellent housing option for seniors and people who have physical disabilities and need more care than their families can provide at home.  But for some people, there is a better alternative,” said Governor Blagojevich.  “With more supporting living facilities open than ever before, more low-income seniors and people who have disabilities can get the care they need but still live independently.”


Illinois developed the Supportive Living Program as an alternative to nursing home care for low-income seniors (age 65 and older) and persons with physical disabilities (22 and older) participating in Medicaid.  By combining apartment-style housing with personal care and other health and wellness services, people can live independently and take part in decision-making.  Personal choice, dignity, privacy and individuality are all emphasized through the program.  Because of the program’s success, there are plans to continue expansion.


“This milestone in supportive living facilities further demonstrates Governor Blagojevich’s strong commitment to quality care for those who need it the most,” said HFS Director Barry S. Maram.  “Through this Medicaid-model of assisted living, we are saving the state money by providing an alternative to costly nursing home care, and more importantly, the residents can retain their dignity and at the same time receive the compassionate care they deserve.”


Under the Governor’s leadership, HFS has obtained a Home and Community Based services “waiver” (under federal law) to allow payment for services that are not routinely covered by Medicaid, including personal care, homemaking, laundry, medication supervision, and 24-hour staff to meet residents’ scheduled and unscheduled needs.  The resident is responsible for paying the cost of room and board at the facility.  Each SLF must also regularly assess each resident’s health status and consult with the resident on an ongoing service plan that promotes health and wellness.


“This week is Residents’ Rights Week, a time to raise awareness about residents who live in long-term care facilities and our state programs designed to protect their rights,” said Illinois Department on Aging Director Charles D. Johnson.  “The opening of more supportive living facilities is yet another choice for Illinois seniors, people with disabilities and their families when staying at home is not an option,” said Illinois Department on Aging Director Charles D. Johnson.


In addition to the SLFs housing 7,891 apartments currently operating, there are 46 sites with over 4,000 units approved in various stages of development throughout the state.  With a 79-year-old mother-in-law currently residing in a SLF, Debbie Humphrey knows first-hand the importance of supportive living.  Due to health problems impacting her ability to live on her own, Ms. Humphrey’s mother in law made the transition into supportive living.


“HFS has provided financial assistance that has helped to provide supportive, healthy, safe, secure housing at supportive living center and healthcare that includes coverage for inpatient/hospital and surgical care, convalescent care, physicians’ office and hospital visits, medical and lab tests, medication, and medical equipment,” said Ms. Humphrey.  “The assistance that HFS has provided over the past several months and future assistance has been critical in improving, and maintaining her overall health-physical, and emotional, and general well-being.  She visited her oncologist this week, and after months of chemotherapy she is cancer-free. We are all resting more comfortably.”


Due to the program’s success and the continuing need for these services, the agency is currently accepting applications for proposed SLFs in targeted geographic areas.  Interested parties should submit an application for the Department’s review. A link to the application as well as the notice outlining those targeted areas can be viewed by visiting the Supportive Living Program’s Web site, www.slfillinois.com


For more information about the Supportive Living Program or to locate facility, please visit the Web site.


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