A bill to lower a needs assessment measurement used by the state when providing assistance to individuals is headed back to the Illinois House with changes from the governor.
The determination of need score – oftentimes called the DON score – is a measurement that dictates the amount of state aid a person might receive.
Gov. Bruce Rauner signed an amendatory veto Friday of a bill to keep the threshold low.
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Democratic state Sen. Heather Steans said there were concerns the governor would increase the DON score.
“If people aren’t eligible for services it may end up being that they more quickly end up in a nursing home, that they’re not eligible for the community care programs that can keep them at home and get services that will help keep them at home,” Steans said.
Despite the Save Medicaid Access and Resources Together (SMART) Act passed in 2012, which sets to increase the DON score as a way to shore up costs, Rauner said he is committed to not raising the DON score.
Steans said another piece to the puzzle could be a universal assessment tool the state has been working on for several years that will replace the outdated DON score tool.
“We’ve been looking at trying to move towards a new universal assessment tool, but that keeps not getting put up in place and getting implemented,” she said.
Steans said the reason the new assessment tool hasn’t been brought about could lie in the difficulty in coordination between the state’s Departments on Aging, Human Services and Health and Family Services.
“I think that may be one of the issues here. … [There are] multiple bureaucracies involved, so it’s been a slow-going effort,” she said.
Rauner said the measure addressing the DON score would interfere with the creation of a new program designed to provide flexible services with a goal of saving $200 million in the coming year.