Publications & Presentations
February 1, 2018

House committee approves bills for supportive living and spinal muscular atrophy screening

The House Human Services Committee signed off on a pair of bills Wednesday that would expand options for supportive living facilities and add spinal muscular atrophy to the list of the state’s newborn screenings.

The first bill would allow a supportive living facility to operate in a mixed-use building that also includes independent living apartments.

Affordable Assisted Living Coalition Executive Director Wayne Smallwood said current rules are blocking a planned redevelopment of the old Ravenswood Hospital in Chicago.

“This is a simple matter allowing mixed-used where part of the building would be independent living and the other part of the building would be supportive living,” said Smallwood, whose organization represents more than 150 supportive living operators.

Kelly Cunningham, deputy administrator for long-term care for the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, said the state previously allowed these kinds of mixed-use buildings, but amended the code in 2005 because it was causing confusion for state agencies and residents over regulatory and oversight issues.

“While we understand the intent of the legislation, our concerns which sparked the original rule change in 2005 remain,” she said.

The committee also sent to the House floor a bill requiring newborn screenings for spinal muscular atrophy. The rare genetic disease affects muscle strength and movement. It's often fatal.

Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, said the Food and Drug Administration recently approved a drug therapy that is providing positive results and is most effective when caught early.

“The sooner they are tested and confirmed positive, the sooner the babies can be treated and prevent a lifetime of debilitating side effects and a need for extensive medical care,” he said.

Batinick said he’s working with HFS and the Illinois Health and Hospital Association on an amendment to the legislation.