Center for Long-Term Care Reform – Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

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Center for Long-Term Care Reform

The Center for Long-term Care Reform promotes a just system of long-term services and supports that enables people to live according to their own goals and values, without exploiting others.

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In 2001, Health & Medicine created its Center for Long-Term Care Reform to work specifically on policy to promote the rebalancing of Illinois’ long-term care system for older adults in favor of home and community-based care.

Through its Center for Long-Term Care Reform, Health & Medicine has been centrally involved in all aspects of Illinois’ long-term care reform process, working closely with legislators, state agency leadership, advocates and providers in support of a long-term care system for older adults that is affordable, accessible, high-quality, adequate to meet needs, and predominantly home and community based.

In 2001, the Center convened bipartisan study groups to inform and educate a broad base of Illinois’ legislators about the need and potential for long-term care reform. In response to legislators’ insistence that their constituents were not concerned about long-term care, the Center conducted community forums around the state with older adults and their family members. The final report, “Illinois Residents Speak Out on Long-Term Care” (May 2004), demonstrated unequivocally that long-term care is a significant concern and priority issue for Illinois’ older adults and their caregivers.

The Center’s work helped set the foundation for the development and passage in 2004 of SB 2880, the Older Adult Services Act (OASA), which inaugurated an unprecedented process of systems change in Illinois, intended to “promote a transformation of Illinois’ comprehensive system of older adult services from funding a primarily facility-based service delivery system to primarily a home-based and community-based system.” The legislation also created the Older Adults Services Advisory Committee (OASAC) paving the way for a $63 million increase in state spending to support older adults wishing to remain in their communities rather than moving to nursing homes.

The Center has remained centrally involved ever since, serving on all of the OASAC committees and working closely with providers, advocates, policymakers, and legislators to provide the analysis, information, and perspective needed to advance an informed and person-centered reform agenda that makes home and community-based care the first option for all older adults with long-term care needs in our state. In that capacity, we have served as an advisor to the Illinois Department of Aging and other state leaders on aging issues across several administrations.