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No place like home

Yesterday, federal district court Judge Charles P. Kocoras issued a court order requiring HFS [Illinois’ Medicaid agency] to “take immediate and affirmative steps to provide the very in-home shift nursing services that HFS approved.”

More than 1200 children have been approved for in-home nursing services based on their high level of medical need. Many of these children are dependent on complex medical regimens for routine bodily functions, such as eating, drinking, breathing, and oxygen regulation. Yet, the State failed to arrange for in-home nursing, resulting in unnecessary and costly institutionalization, heightened risk of medical complications, and diminished quality of life.

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Silo busters

Last week we were delighted to attend the rollout of Chicago Department of Health’s draft “Healthy Chicago 2.0 Plan”

The event was the culmination of many months of action planning teams meeting and developing goals, objectives, and strategies to improve health equity in Chicago.

One of the highlights was an insightful presentation by Dr. Mindy T. Fullilove, Columbia University professor, psychiatrist and award-winning author of Urban Alchemy: Restoring Joy in America’s Sorted-Out Cities. Attendees gave Dr. Fullilove a well-deserved standing ovation.

Team members at Legal Council for Health Justice were proud to contribute to the new plan, participating in and lending our expertise to action teams working on expanding partnerships and community engagement and strengthening child and adolescent health.

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On the Docket

Everyday our advocates provide free and immediate legal assistance, one client at a time. Other times, we defend access to justice to many more people than we could possibly represent in a single year.

Legal Council for Health Justice currently has four high-impact litigation cases. Two of them, Beeks v. Bradley and Memisovski v. Maram, are federal court cases in which we represent 3.1 million Medicaid recipients in Illinois. Working with the Shriver Center, we required the State of Illinois, despite the state budget impasse, to fund billions of dollars in Medicaid services. This work has ensured that doctors, medical clinics and hospitals continue to provide medical treatment to the 3.1 million Illinoisans, including 700,000 children in low-income households.

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First do no harm

Last week’s budget address from Gov. Rauner would have people think the whole Springfield stalemate is about nothing less than the future of Illinois.

Meanwhile, the most vulnerable Illinoisans — children in low-income households, senior citizens, the disabled, victims of trauma and abuse — are being denied life-saving interventions that help them stay on the path to dignity, well-being, and self-sufficiency.

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Silver linings

Our ears were burning when Governor Bruce Rauner mentioned court orders in today’s budget address. More on that later.

But a silver lining was the announcement of support of $5M increased funding to Early Intervention (EI), the program that closes the gaps for infants and toddlers living with developmental disability and delay.

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