History, Accomplishments, and Legacy – Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

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History, Accomplishments, and Legacy

For more information about this program please contact:

Wesley Epplin
Policy Director wepplin@hmprg.org

Brigitte Dietz
Health and Aging Policy Analyst bdietz@hmprg.org

Alizandra Medina
Health and Aging Organizer amedina@hmprg.org

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History, Accomplishments, and Legacy

  • Overview


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 persons in favor of home and community-based care. 

Through this Center, Health & Medicine has been centrally involved in 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 2004 development and passage of SB 2880, the Older Adult Services Act (OASA), which began 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), which paved the way for a $63 million increase in state spending to support older persons wishing to remain in their communities.

In 2020, Health & Medicine worked with the Illinois Department on Aging to research, develop, solicit public comment, and respond to public comments of the State Plan on Aging, which is required by the Administration on Community Living for state agencies that administer Older Americans Act dollars. Health & Medicine was contracted to support the advancement of a stronger health equity and aging equity focus in the 2021-2023 plan. You can view the plan here.

The Center has remained centrally involved ever since and has served on all OASAC committees; worked closely with providers, advocates, policymakers, and legislators; and provided the analysis, information, and perspective needed to advance an informed, person-centered, and equity-focused reform agenda and prioritize home and community-based care for all older persons in our state. In that capacity, we have served as an advisor to the Illinois Department on Aging and other state leaders on aging issues across several administrations.