A good way to save money on health care is to stay out of the hospital. The people whose job it is to treat you at home say the Illinois legislature and the governor ought to remember that as they contemplate budget cuts in every area. Jan Grimes, executive director of the Illinois Home Care and Hospice Council, says cutbacks on the services of nurses, therapists, and other home care providers will backfire and lead to expensive trips to the emergency room or more overnight hospital stays.
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“Insurance companies understand and like to support home care,” says Grimes, “but the governor’s office, also, is turning toward something called rebalancing.” Grimes’ group commissioned a study by the Center for Long-term Care Reform at the Health and Medicine Policy Research Group to back up her group’s argument that a proposed 10 percent budget cut is counterproductive. Grimes stresses the home care providers are professionals: “These are not people that help you put on your socks; these are the people that keep you out of the hospital or out of the nursing home,” she says.