In this day and age, when everyone is on heightened alert about privacy, CRIS wants to take an opportunity to explain why Community Care Program (CCP) client information is collected and how CRIS keeps it safe.
CRIS’s ROLE IN THE COMMUNITY CARE PROGRAM
CRIS offers over 20 programs for residents of Vermilion County who are 60+ years old, for adults with disabilities, and for caregivers of older adults. One program that thousands of seniors enroll in is the Community Care Program, which is designed and funded by the Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA).
The Illinois Department on Aging has specific guidelines for its CCP program. Providing IDoA-funded CCP services to older adults involves collecting sensitive information on the State of Illinois’ behalf. CRIS carefully follows all IDoA guidelines to ensure client privacy and confidentiality always remains intact.
WHAT IS THE COMMUNITY CARE PROGRAM?
The Community Care Program (CCP) is a statewide program that provides older adults with services they may need to remain in their home for as long as possible. CCP is a national model, and many other states have similar programs. Services may include in-home service (assistance with tasks such as cleaning and laundry) and emergency home response service (a two-way communication button seniors can use to call for help).
The Community Care Program is just one of the many ways CRIS provides older adults with the tools they need to stay safe, healthy, and independent at home.
WHY DOES CRIS NEED SENSITIVE INFORMATION TO ENROLL A PERSON IN CCP?
CRIS asks for personal information that Illinois Department of Aging requires of individuals in order to be enrolled in the program. CRIS respects the sensitive nature of the information being asked, and CRIS only asks for information pertinent to getting clients enrolled in the Community Care Program.
WHY DOES CRIS ASK FOR INCOME INFORMATION?
According to the Community Care Program web page on Illinois.gov, “Although the level of income does not affect eligibility for the program, an income level is established for each participant to determine the participant’s ability to contribute to the cost of care.” *
WHY DOES CRIS ASK ABOUT ASSETS?
Some CCP participants are also enrolled in Medicaid. Medicaid administers the Community Care Program with the Illinois Department on Aging. New participants will be asked to provide asset information. This is required by Medicaid. CRIS sends this information to Medicaid as part of the application and enrollment process. The State of Illinois has a reasonable expectation that most assets are used to help fund a senior’s care before the State steps in to provide aid.
HOW IS PERSONAL INFORMATION KEPT SAFE?
CRIS keeps sensitive information locked down at all times according to HIPAA standards. This includes both paper and electronic documents. Client information is never shared with any other organization, entity, or person(s), except those the client expressly requests. CRIS values privacy and invest in the protection of all client data.
WHAT IF A SENIOR IS NOT COMFORTABLE PROVIDING SENSITIVE FINANCIAL INFORMATION?
The laws in place that govern the Community Care Program require that financial and/or asset records be provided in order to complete applications for enrollment. A senior who declines to provide this information also declines the service. This is not a CRIS requirement, but a legal one at the highest levels of State government.
Who Pays For CCP Services?
In short, everyone helps pay for CCP services. Funding may come from:
- The Illinois Department on Aging
- Illinois Medicaid
- Clients and their family, by way of “Medicaid Estate Recovery” (see below)
CRIS provides CCP services to several thousand seniors and persons with disabilities, and the State of Illinois pays for these services. It is simply not possible to depend on taxpayers in the State of Illinois to provide anywhere close to 100% of the funding required to support the CCP program. It is therefore fiscally necessary for the State to seek reimbursement from the estates of those who participated in the CCP program in Illinois, but have since passed on. CRIS is not part of this process.
IS THE COMMUNITY CARE PROGRAM FREE?
CRIS does not charge directly for the Community Care Program, nor does it request donations from clients. Clients are not billed for services at the time services are rendered. The estate recovery that may occur after the end of a person’s life are all functions of the Illinois Department on Aging and Medicaid. CRIS is not part of this process. (More on this below.)
WHAT IS MEDICAID ESTATE RECOVERY?
The Illinois Department on Aging works with the Illinois Department on Healthcare and Family Services to implement the Medicaid Waiver Program. This enables the State to be reimbursed by the federal government for some services provided to seniors.
In order to recover expenses spent on a senior’s care, the Illinois Department on Healthcare and Family Services may file a claim against the estates of seniors who pass away. However, if a spouse survives them, the recovery does not take place until the end of the spouse’s life. This protects seniors in their homes and allows them to live at home for as long as possible without fear of losing their home in exchange for Medicaid services. This is called Medicaid Estate Recovery.
If a client has no estate, savings, or assets, then the program is essentially free for that person. If a client had some assets at the time of his/her death, the Illinois Department on Aging may request reimbursement through the estate for the cost of the CCP services provided during that client’s lifetime.
Medicaid Estate Recovery is a fair, senior-friendly way to finance the tools and support seniors need as they face the challenges of getting older. Medicaid Estate Recovery relieves the burden to the taxpayer and keeps Medicaid funded so it can continue to provide much-needed services to those who need them.
CAN CRIS FILE A LIEN AGAINST A SENIOR’S ASSETS OR PROPERTY?
CRIS never makes a claim against a senior’s belongings or possessions. CRIS acts as an intermediary who enrolls seniors in the programs and manages the services. Medicaid does recover expenses through Medicaid Estate Recovery, but this recovery activity is not part of CRIS’s work or mission.
WHERE CAN CLIENTS AND THEIR FAMILY/CAREGIVERS GET MORE INFORMATION?
To learn more about the Community Care program in Vermilion County and its requirements, interested persons can call CRIS Healthy-Aging Center at 217-443-2999.
The Illinois Department on Aging website also houses a webpage for the Community Care Program here:
CRIS always welcomes dialogue with the community about the triumphs and challenges of senior living and how CRIS supports seniors in their quest for the richest, most fulfilling life possible. As an active agency in Vermilion County, CRIS values Vermilion residents’ ideas about making life better for all our seniors.
* Illinois Department on Aging Community Care Program page:
Medicaid Estate Recovery and Liens page:
Application for a Sect. 1915( c ) Home and Community-Based Services Waiver PDF:
Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, Medical Brochures, HFS 3419 Property Liens & Estate Claims page: