Illinois Partners’ report analyzes human service reimbursement rates over the past two decades. Using the Consumer Price Index (CPI), we performed a cross-sector comparison of how rates have kept up with cost-of-living increases.

While the human service workforce has been deemed “essential,” the state continues to underpay and undervalue these services. Reimbursement rates are one area in which this chronic underfunding is most apparent.

Keeping up with the cost of living should be the absolute lowest bar we aim to reach — and yet we fail to reach it in nearly every area of human service provision.

Illinois Partners draws three broad conclusions for legislators and key administrators to consider in their policy-making:

1) Clarity: Many human service fields lack an established rate setting methodology, leaving rates to be determined arbitrarily.

2) Transparency: We found several instances of publicly available rate reimbursement data not aligning with rates in contracts of providers.

3) Equity: COVID-19 has further revealed systemic inequities and prompted unequal health and economic outcomes —especially true for frontline essential workers.

This report, More Than Essential: Reimbursement Rates and the True Value of Human Services, is intended to be a catalyst for action. We present it to you with gratitude to our coalition partners who shared their time and expertise to verify its accuracy and with appreciation for everyone who joins us in our mission. Together we will achieve a human services sector that is strong, equitable, and sufficiently funded so that all Illinoisans are able to thrive.

Full Report


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