The Little Angels Pat Wasmond Home is a loving residence for children and young adults with severe disabilities and complex medical needs. It is a state-of-the-art facility offering round-the-clock skilled nursing, therapeutic and habilitation services in a warm, caring environment. Founded in 1958 by Elgin residents Pat and Bob Wasmond, it may not be a home in the traditional sense, but it does provide the most important aspects that make a home--love, care and support.
The Little Angels Cathy Freeman Center for Developmental Training, a dynamic therapeutic day program for young adults with severe disabilities is adjacent to the residence. Both facilities are located on Rt. 58, on the eastern edge of Elgin, IL.
State Budget Update
The Illinois legislature is back in session and the budget is top of their agenda. We have not received any updates on their stance on Medicaid funding for Little Angels. As far as we know, the call for a 12% cut to Medicaid funding for nursing homes in the new fiscal year is still on the table. Time to contact your legislators again. With help from a piece written by Stephen P. Miller, President of Benchmark Healthcare, we’ve compiled some facts to share:
• Our portion of the Medicaid program – intermediate care facilities and skilled pediatric nursing homes – are not truly part of the Medicaid issue. While Medicaid has indeed been a growing part of the state budget, long-term care has not been part of that problem. In reality, facilities like Little Angels have seen NO net increase in funding in 20 years. If the state needs to "dry out" from a spending binge, we understand that… but funds should be cut from those who received them, not from those of us who never did.
• Illinois skilled nursing facilities already receive the second-lowest funding level from Medicaid of all the states. That is not true of other parts of the Medicaid program, nor of other budget programs in general. When it is belt-tightening time, the areas that are already stretched very thinly should be identified, and the impact lessened there.
• Compared to hospitals, physicians, pharmacies, and others, we are MUCH more dependent on Medicaid reimbursement. We and we alone provide round-the-clock, lifetime care for these vulnerable individuals. Whereas other providers have diversified practices that may include some Medicaid; Medicaid is the very core of our business, supplemented by fundraising. If a doctor or hospital gets paid 12% less for a Medicaid service, it is an unwelcome cut. When it happens to us, it drives a stake right through the heart of our care and service.
• We are unique among Medicaid providers in that we cannot opt out. If a physician deems Medicaid reimbursement to be inadequate, he can simply stop taking Medicaid patients. Not so with Little Angels. We cannot (and would not) kick our residents to the curb; it is even illegal for us to discharge them without cause. The state granted the benefit, our residents have moved in, and now we - and the state - have the obligation to care for them.
• Not all nursing homes are in equal circumstances either. There are some that cater to private pay with lesser amounts of Medicaid funding. Then there are others, like Little Angels, which take on the challenge of caring for the neediest of disabled individuals in the state. Medicaid cuts land the hardest on those homes already doing the heaviest lifting.
• The care that we deliver brings savings down the road. Considerable taxpayer money has been saved because we have had the resources to deliver quality care. On the other hand, less Medicaid funding means less staff and other resources, which could mean higher rates of costly medical episodes resulting in hospitalization. Fiscally speaking, we are the low-cost solution already. Cutting funding to us risks being a "penny-wise, pound-foolish" approach. The state might save a few dollars on our daily rate, only to spend tens of thousands of dollars on more hospitalizations and other medical costs.
• Nursing facilities are major sources of jobs. That is another difference between us and other Medicaid provider categories (except hospitals, which, of course, are major employers, too). We are also frequently the employer of choice for those citizens whose job options are limited. We hire CNAs, dietary aides, housekeepers, laundry workers, - jobs that do not require higher education. We employ many of those who, without that job, would be dependent on government assistance. It is another "penny-wise, pound-foolish" risk that comes with cutting Medicaid funding to nursing homes.
Please contact your legislators and Governor Rauner with this important information. The care of our residents is dependent upon adequate Medicaid funding.
Shelley Lewis, Executive Director
Little Angels Center for Exceptional Care