New legislation may bring back last year's battle between Democratic legislators and Gov. Bruce Rauner over requirements to receive state-funded home care assistance.

Rauner had proposed raising what's called the Determination of Need, or DON score, in his first budget address. The score decides how much state aid a person with disabilities or a senior receives through the Department of Human Services' Home Services program.

The governor later used his amendatory veto powers on a bill that would've locked in the current requirements into law, while also backing away from a plan to raise the score need to qualify for care through an administrative rule change.

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Now, State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) is reintroducing his bill to set the current DON score requirements into statute, preventing them from being changed again without going through the General Assembly.

"We've got to give our elders, we've got to give our people with disabilities the comfort of knowing that they are not going to lose what they have. They are not going to face being moved out of their homes," Harris said.

The DON score requirements would only remain in effect until the state receives federal approval to implement a new assessment tool.

State Rep. Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) said he’s against putting the DON score requirements into law because the Department of Human Services is supposed to be developing a new assessment standard to replace it.

“Almost every other state in the country has moved away from using the DON tool to evaluate what needs a person in the community might have,” Demmer said.

Demmer said Rauner has agreed not to attempt the raise the DON score requirements again, making this new bill unnecessary.

Rauner himself has declined to comment on the proposal.
"I don't want to talk about that, Rauner said Wednesday. “I am against that. In the coming days, we're going to talk more about the DON score," Rauner said.


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