Little Angels Seeking Help from Community Organization Helping People with Disabilities Needs More Than Medicaid Funding
Byers, Christine, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Christine Byers Daily Herald Staff Writer
Fundraising used to pay for the extras at Little Angels in Elgin, such as additional medical equipment for the severely ill or disabled children the 50-year-old agency serves.
But now asking the community for money is the agency's only way to survive, said Shelley Lewis, executive director of the home where 57 children and young adults live.
The shift results from Medicaid's reimbursement rate, which has not changed in 13 years, Lewis said. Essentially, the facility is being reimbursed for what it costs to care for its disabled clients 13 years ago - and medical costs have skyrocketed since then, Lewis said.
"Is it serious enough that we're going to go out of business next year? No," she said. "But each year it gets tougher and tougher and more critical."
Proceeds from the agency's major fundraiser, the Pledge Run, now cover operating costs. Bikers come from all over the country to ride 100 miles through parts of Illinois and Wisconsin to raise money for the agency, and since it began nearly two decades ago about $2.7 million has been raised for the residence through pledges and corporate sponsorships.
The situation has been critical for about the last five years and the agency has begun to depend on other local groups to raise money, such as St. James A.M.E. Church, which is planning a musical benefit Dec. 2. Church leaders hope to make the Elgin Area Angels Christmas Musical Benefit an annual event and donate all proceeds to the home. …