Smart Policy Works was founded in 1992 – during the era of welfare reform – with the sole purpose of improving access to public benefits programs and preserving the integrity of the Social Security Disability Income programs. Our work has grown exponentially since then, but we work today toward the same purpose: to break down economic, social, and structural barriers to health and well-being.
A mixed use housing and medical destination for people with intellectual disabilities and seniors
Because housing and services for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities is underfunded and scarce, family members may end up never relinquishing their caregiver roles, even as they age into needing services themselves. Aging parents may remain in housing that no longer fits their needs or provides the safety they require. Because this is also often the case for seniors generally who remain the community, a suburban-Chicago building developer saw a potential market demand for housing that would accommodate all three populations. Smart Policy Works served as a disability policy and services consultant on this project. Continue reading “Supportive Housing Strategy”
The change of administration in Washington brought with it renewed threats to the protections embodied in the Affordable Care Act and the fundamental principles of the 50-year state federal compact represented by Medicaid.
This first-of-its-kind stakeholder training project aims to prepare people with traumatic spinal cord injuries to play active roles in SCI research.
Co-convened with the Chicago Department of Public Health, the collaborative was created to promote the collective impact that hospitals working together could have on population health and related social determinants of health.
HDA helped revise the Institute on Rehabilitation Issues’ materials to help counselors better understand how the ACA may affect their clients and how the changes in our health care system can provide additional opportunities to eliminate barriers to employment for people and businesses.
HDA partnered with the Campaign for Better Healthcare and the Small Business Majority to disseminate information on the ACA’s Small Business Health Options Program, or SHOP, to Illinois small businesses, and to survey their health insurance needs and concerns.
HDA created a curriculum of training and technical assistance readiness for navigators and assisters in Illinois, so that when the Obamacare marketplace opened in 2013, resources were there to help people get covered.
The Affordable Care Act was the most sweeping reform of the U.S. healthcare system since Medicare, potentially opening a path to care for millions of Americans. How many of them were in Illinois? Who would be eligible for affordable, guaranteed health coverage in 2014, where did these people live, and how would they access coverage? Policymakers, providers, and citizens wanted to know. We created this data-mapping project at Illinois Health Matters to illustrate the potential impact of the ACA on uninsured Illinoisans.
This HDA program trains volunteer veterans in communication skills and community resources to help peers to bridge the gaps between military service and civilian life.
HDA started a training and outreach effort to bring the issue of “MST” – the rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment of military Service Members – to the forefront and to improve the supports available to survivors.
Now the Affordable Care Act was law, but what would the coming changes mean to real people? Partnering with the Local Reporting Initiative, Illinois Health Matters created content about how healthcare reform is impacting underserved communities on the South and West sides of Chicago. These stories brought together reporting, photography, and video to present accessible, personal stories of people who had long gone without health insurance, or wished they could afford it for their employees. Continue reading “Neighborhood Stories”
Once the Affordable Care Act became law in March 2010, the State of Illinois started implementing the changes required to provide affordable and quality care for all Illinois residents. Some changes came quickly, such as the “Patient’s Bill of Rights,” which put an end to some of the most extreme insurance abuses. But most were phased in over several years, during which there was an unmet need for information on all aspects of how the process would operate. Illinois Health Matters filled that need, serving to pave the way to the state’s Get Covered Illinois marketplace.
Challenges to Social Security had been intensifying, and reached the stage where Congress was considering proposed cutbacks projected to total 25% of program funding. It was clear that many regarded the program as a burden for American taxpayers. We created this website to show that Social Security is not a costly program for “other people” but rather a vital resource in maintaining the economic well-being of ordinary American families.
This innovative outreach effort was a response to the pain and loss that people were feeling as military casualties from the war in Iraq hit home. Illinois Connections for Families of the Fallen connects families of military casualties through events, workshops, and peer support to help them begin to find a new normal after a catastrophic loss.