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  2001 Press Releases  

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Jan Costello
Phone: 217-785-9020, TTY: 1-800-252-8966

June 12, 2001

Governor Ryan's 2002 Budget Strengthens Services for Elderly

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Fiscal Year 2002 Budget signed today by Governor George H. Ryan adds osteoporosis to the list of medications covered by the Circuit Breaker/Pharmaceutical Assistance Program, increases support for professionals who work with elderly clients, and implements a new plan to help family caregivers, according to Illinois Department on Aging Director Margo E. Schreiber.

"Governor Ryanís budget is very good to Illinois seniors," Schreiber said. "It will enable the Department to proceed with some very exciting initiatives."

Schreiber said the stateís portion of the overall spending plan is $235.9 million, which includes $205.5 million for the Departmentís Community Care Program. That program helps more than 40,000 frail elderly throughout the state remain living independently through assistance such as homemaker service.

The budget also includes $7.4 million for the statewide Elder Abuse and Neglect Program, through which community-based agencies will respond to an estimated 9,000 reports of abuse and neglect this fiscal year.

Schreiber said the funding includes a two percent rate increase for community care providers such as homemakers, as well as elder abuse and adult day service providers effective April 1, 2002.

"The work of these providers is absolutely essential to the safety and well-being of vulnerable seniors in Illinois," Schreiber said. "It is challenging work, and their work and dedication is priceless."

Schreiber said the Governorís overall budget also provides funding to add osteoporosis to the list of prescription medications covered by the Circuit Breaker/Pharmaceutical Assistance Program effective July 1, 2001. Osteoporosis medication will join prescriptions for heart disease, blood pressure problems, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, Alzheimerís disease, Parkinsonís disease, glaucoma, lung disease and smoking related illnesses. The program helps low-income seniors age 65 or older to pay for such prescriptions.

"This is a very big advance," Schreiber said. "Osteoporosis predisposes individuals to fractures and requires medication to counteract loss of bone mass. This will be welcome news to many older people in need who are managing what can be a very painful disease."

Additionally, Schreiber said the Illinois Department on Agingís spending authority under the federal Older Americans Fund was raised to $60.3 million. A portion of the funds ($4.7 million) will help the Department administer the National Family Caregiver Support Program and provide family caregivers with information, assistance, and supportive services such as respite.

Schreiber said helping family caregivers through a coordinated statewide support system will provide essential assistance. She noted that about 25 percent of people across the country are caring for a senior – a spouse, parent or other relative.

"They provide unpaid help, which, if it were to be replaced by paid home care, would be astronomical in cost," she said. &uqot;We need to be a resource for family caregivers and give them the knowledge, encouragement and coping skills to help them with their challenges."

"We are very thankful the Governorís Fiscal Year 2002 Budget helps not only seniors but those professionals and family members who are dedicated to improving their quality of life," Schreiber said.

For more information, you may contact the Illinois Department on Agingís Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 (Voice and TTY).

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For more information, call the Illinois Department on Aging's Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 (Voice and TTY).




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