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Report for America is a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities.

Rockford Healthcare Workers Call for More Long-Term Care Options

Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco
Brenda Brockman in front of SEIU offices in Rockford.

Healthcare workers in Rockford are calling on legislators to invest more in caregiving.



Members of SEIU in Rockford are rallying behind a proposal that would widen the current assessment scoring used to determine eligibility for home care programs. Brenda Brockman with SEIU called it a step towards restructuring long-term care options. 


“Here's the solution,” Brockman said, “create a greater range of home and community based services to allow residents to stay in their homes longer, which will also decrease cost to the state and increase the quality of life.”


Illinois state Senator Omar Aquino and Representative Maurice West are sponsoring the legislation to lower the Dependent of Need, or DON, score required to qualify for home service. That number currently stands at 29. Lowering it would potentially make more people eligible for home care.  


Nursing home workers also want more substantial accountability and oversight over the nursing home industry. The Illinois Department of Public Health reports that in the past year more than 76,000 Illinois nursing home residents tested positive for COVID-19 and over 10,000 died from the virus. The most recent figures show that nearly half of all the COVID deaths in Illinois occurred at long-term care facilities. 


  • Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project which is a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms.