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Article in the Illinois Statehouse News on HMPRG Study Showing Negative Impact of Home Health Care Cuts

Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)
May 21, 2012

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Study says cuts to home care lead to rising costs elsewhere

By Anthony Brino | Illinois Statehouse News

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn wants to cut $11 million in Medicaid spending on home health care and, according to a new study, the move could lead to higher costs in nursing homes and hospitals.

The Chicago-based Health and Medicine Policy Research Group [1], a health-care policy nonprofit, found that other states that cut funding for home-based services, such as Hospice, saw costs rise for hospitalization and nursing homes.
The group scoured national studies and data on spending for Medicaid home services and spending on nursing homes and hospitalization for elderly patients. In Michigan, the group found, after home-care waivers were cut, spending on nursing homes and emergency hospitalization increased.

“Home care stretches dollars,” said Lisa Hardcastle, president of the Illinois HomeCare and Hospice Council [2], an association of home-care providers, which commissioned the study. “It is a service that can help more people for less money.”

The study comes amid the governor’s efforts to find $2.7 billion to plug shortfalls for Medicaid, a federal-state health care program for low-income residents, and a larger battle among lawmakers and interest groups over next year’s budget.

It also highlights a looming challenge for the state health-care system — health care for the elderly. Within a decade the number of retired Illinoisans, now about 2.3 million, is expected to grow to 3 million, according to the study.