From The Pastor At St. Paul's UCC, Freeburg, IL

Illinois Budget Cuts & Home Care

I received an email the other day from Jennifer Barbour, the Community Outreach Director of Christian Home Care Services, having to do with proposed Illinois State Budget cuts and their effect on local caring ministries. Here’s what she says:

Dear Friends,

I’d like to take this opportunity to share a story with you about a 76 year old woman named Mildred living in rural St. Clair County.  Mildred suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and was having trouble doing things that most of us take for granted like opening a can of corn or button her pants.  Mildred was referred to a pain management treatment center in St. Louis by her rheumatologist.  Mildred was worried how she was going to get to the appointment.  The office manager at her doctor’s office referred her to Christian HomeCare Services, Inc. to see if she qualified for no charge transportation.  Mildred has been receiving rides to her pain management appointments in St. Louis for two months now.  Without this service, Mildred would have to continue living in pain and move into a nursing facility.  Instead, Mildred is still in her own home and wearing pants with buttons again!

Something as simple as a ride to St. Louis for pain management a few times a month was all it took to help Mildred back to health.  With the help from Community Based Services, like Christian HomeCare Services, Inc., residents of Illinois just like Mildred have been able to remain in their home.  Assisted transportation services are in jeopardy due to the payment cycle of the State of Illinois and the threat of potential cuts.  Providers across the State have done what we can to maintain services during the State’s continued budget crisis.  We have enacted measures to save resources, postponed payments, drawn down our resources and taken out loans.  The only thing that can be done next is to limit the options and eliminate services to people like Mildred.

Community Based Services save the State of Illinois money.  Any time a person is able to remain in their home, where they want to be, rather than entering a nursing home the State of Illinois saves money.  The cost of Community Based Care is approximately $800 per month and Nursing Home Care is approximately $3,000 per month.  I encourage everyone to urge our legislators to require a reliable payment schedule for all human service providers and to promise no cuts to Community Based Services.

Remember, it is less expensive to provide options for the residents of Illinois to live independently than to pay three times as much for nursing home care.

I know with budget cuts coming, everyone whose ox is going to be gored will be squawking. I wonder for whom we’ll squawk? Or will be just let things happen regardless of the impact on the poor, elderly, helpless, vulnerable, etc. I wonder if Illinois will be demanding more $ from area casinos?

Moved to squawk? Contact your congressman; if you don’t know where or how to do that, here’s a list to help:

District 56

Sen. James F. Clayborne P – 618-875-1212    F – 618-274-3010

Rep. Tomas Holbrook P – 618-394-2211    F – 618-394-2210

Rep. Eddie Lee Jackson, Sr.    P – 618-875-9950    F – 618-875-9870

District 57

Sen. William Haine P – 618-465-4764    F – 618-465-4816

Rep. Dan Beiser P – 618-465-5900    F – 618-465-5150

Rep. Jay C. Hoffman P – 618-345-2176    F – 618-345-3338

District 58

Sen. Dave Luechtefeld    P – 243-9014    F – 243-5376

Rep. Dan Reitz P – 443-5757    F – 443-3800

Rep. Mike Bost P – 618-457-5787    F  – 457-2990


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