1 mile west of the Chicago Premium Outlet Mall (800) 810 3100
“Legislators Block Proposed Illinois Nursing Home Medicaid Rules”—that was this morning’s newspaper headline in our state capital.  That headline would not have happened except for major efforts on the part of our legal/political/lobbying team. Here is a little background:  Last year, I needed to take a break from blogging so we could create a team to lobby in defense of the frail and the elderly citizens of Illinois.  We had not planned on taking a one-year-long blogging hiatus—but when the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (IHFS) proposed its first draft of Medicaid rules changes in May of 2010, we felt the regulations were critically important enough to give it our full attention. And give it our full attention we did!  We created the Task Force for Senior Fairness.  The task force included concerned attorneys from all over the state of Illinois and the Cook County Public Guardians Office.  We have worked alongside the Illinois Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).  With this amazing group of people we have been able to achieve far more than we had initially thought possible, including:
  • Hiring a capable lobbyist to help us communicate an understandable message to our legislators in the House of Representatives and the Senate, as well as the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (which administers Medicaid).
  • Convincing legislators that while overhauling the Medicaid rules must be done in compliance with new federal law, it would be unfair to make the new Illinois Medicaid rules more harsh than the federal mandate.
  • Creating a website (www.DontHurtGrandma.com) to help deliver information to politicians as well as to public interest groups and the average concerned citizen.
Fighting to make a difference, is important and invigorating work, but in many ways it has been like taking on an additional job! There have been quite a few people who have been integral to our fight for senior fairness, including task force co-chair and renowned elder law attorney Kerry Peck; elder law attorney  (and my own daughter) Diana Law, who served as the task force co-chair and tireless advocate for rights for seniors; senior communications expert Jessica Bannister (a farmer’s daughter who is the webmaster and legislative chair for the Kendall County Republican Women); and our talented and highly regarded democratic lobbyist Michael Bauer.  We hope to feature some of these amazing colleagues in future blog posts, so that our readers can get to know and appreciate them as we do. And of course I can’t send out a post about what’s been going on over the past year without talking a little bit about my family.  Some of my readers know that I have been an avid horseman for many years, which is why I was thrilled to be able to buy my two oldest granddaughters (5½-year-old Lucy and 4½-year-old Daphne) their first riding helmets this winter!  I can’t wait to start riding with both girls this summer, enjoying some grandfather-granddaughter “horseplay.” Feel free to contact me at rick@lawelderlaw.com.  I look forward to catching up with you, keeping you informed, and continuing the conversation here at my blog!