The state of Illinois is poised to cut $11 million from home-based health care, but would the cuts merely lead to higher costs in other areas?
The answer, according to the Health and Medicine Policy Research Group, an Illinois based nonprofit that analyzes and recommends public policy decisions in the field of health care, is a resounding yes. The group commissioned a study by the Center for Long-Term Care Reform.
The Illinois budget currently calls for a 10% cut to home health care services. It roughly equates to an $11 million cut.
The study found, unsurprisingly, that people who are cut off from the home-based care they need don’t simply disappear. They quickly become nursing home residents and emergency room patients as they attempt and fail to fill the void the lack of home-based care has left behind.
Nursing home care, a 24-hour-a-day service, is considerably more expensive than home-based care, and emergency room care is the most expensive kind of care there is. According to a 2009 AARP report, three people can be supported through home-based care for every one person in a nursing home.
As an attorney who specializes in nursing home abuse and neglect, I’ve spent a great deal of time meeting and speaking with nursing home residents and their families. While many people need the kind of 24-hour care that a nursing home provides, many more do not. Many families would love to be able to take care of a family member in their home, but need all the income that their job provides.
The state of Illinois has declared that moving people out of institutions and into community settings is a priority. Decreasing home-based funding is effectively cutting the legs out from underneath that claim.
I see the kind of poor care that constitutes nursing home neglect. It’s an epidemic in Illinois and across the globe. Chicagoans and other citizens of Illinois choose home-based care in virtually every instance, and there’s no need to wonder why. Terrible episodes of neglect and abuse are easy to find.