The Illinois Senate approved a roughly $50.7 billion spending plan late Thursday night, which includes rate increases for those that care for individuals with developmental disabilities.
The package, which includes the budget and the implementation plan, calls for a $2.50 per hour increase for direct care services. It is a 50-cent increase from the budget initially filed on Wednesday, and a dollar more than what was included in Gov. JB Pritzker’s initial budget proposal.
The plan also includes $550 million to fund a program that provides Medicaid-like coverage to certain undocumented individuals. The proposal does not expand eligibility for the program, a step advocates had sought this spring.
The Medicaid omnibus introduced Thursday gives the Department of Healthcare and Family Services emergency rulemaking to implement provisions intended to reign in the costs of the program, which is estimated to hit $1.1 billion in the coming year.
The budget package also includes an additional $38 million for 23 safety net hospitals that serve low-income communities.
“The advocates have worked very hard with us on both sides of the aisle to come up with a proposal for this year to put more resources into our healthcare facilities so that, in addition, there are a number of directed grants at the critical access hospitals,” Senate sponsor Elgie Sims Jr., D-Chicago, told the Senate Executive Committee.
The spending plan also:
- Provides $18 million to establish a reproductive health navigation hotline, training and consultation programs.
- Creates an advisory council to advise HFS to support veteran suicide prevention.
- Gives the Office of Firearm Violence Prevention the ability to award violence prevention organizations grants for evidence-based violence prevention services related to behavioral health, including clinical interventions, crisis interventions and group counseling supports.
- Establishes an Opioid Remediation Services Capital Investment Grant Program.
Republicans repeatedly said they appreciated the bipartisan nature of budget discussions, but the package passed along party lines. Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, said the final package didn’t go far enough to address some of his party’s priorities.
Sen. Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro, added she was disappointed more was not provided to address mental health services, as well as developmental disabilities.
“The (state-funded rate study) showed that $4 an hour is what needed to go to those individuals,” she said of the wage increase for direct service personnel. “And instead, they’re supposed to stand back and be happy for the $2.50 that they’re gonna get.”
Sen. Ann Gillespie, D-Arlington Heights, noted the increase is intended to get the state closer to implementing the rate study, as well as to stabilize and grow the workforce.
Pritzker in a statement thanked senators for their approval.
“I look forward to the House taking up this budget that will make childcare and education more accessible, healthcare more affordable and our state’s business and economic position even stronger,” he said.
The House will reconvene at 5 p.m. Friday, with the goal of passing the budget early Saturday morning.