Healthcare and housing access for all  April 2022 

Read the full report of Rush University Medical Center’s regional convening here.

Host organization: Rush University Medical Center


Rush University Medical Center is a nonprofit academic medical institution in Chicago, Illinois with a strong focus on health equity and improving the health of the communities it serves. In 2017, Rush University Medical Center became one of the many co-founders of the Illinois Alliance for Welcoming Health Care, a collaborative of health care organizations and community- based organizations convened by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), focused on making healthcare institutions more immigrant-welcoming. In 2017, Rush also formed the Immigrant Health Working Group (IHWG), an interprofessional committee of Rush employees and students. In 2018, through the work of the IHWG, Rush became the nation’s first “sanctuary hospital” after creating a formal policy to ensure our patients, students, and staff were safe from immigration enforcement while on campus.  

In 2020, the IHWG convened a collaborative of 34 organizations and published a first-of-its-kind report: “Collaborative Report on the Aging Undocumented Population of Illinois.” This report forecasted that the population of undocumented adults 65 and older in Illinois would increase from 3,986 in 2017 to 55,154 in 2030, a more than 12-fold increase.  

The Healthy Illinois Campaign used the data and insights from the report to write Medicaid expansion legislation in Illinois, creating a Medicaid-lookalike program open to undocumented Illinois residents 65 and older. This program has since expanded, accepting adults 42 and older as of April 2022. While this Medicaid expansion has been life-changing for many undocumented individuals and their families in Illinois, many undocumented individuals with complex care needs are falling through the cracks, as this program does not cover many of the services individuals with complex health and social needs depend on. 

Goals of the complex care regional convening 

Long-term goal 

To improve health care access for adults who are undocumented and their family caregivers by addressing unmet social determinant of health needs and engaging acute and long-term care partners to support complex care post-hospitalization. For example, we will address the expansion of public health care insurance plan access (inclusion of SNF, mental health facilities, etc.) and secure more options for long-term care or supportive housing as they age. 

Mid-term goals (6 to 18 months after the convening) 

  • Design a policy intervention and action plan for each of the focus areas (e.g., Medicaid expansion, transitional care, etc.) from action tanks 
  • Describe the need and corresponding policy intervention and action plans within existing local and state forums 
  • Supplement current coalitions to bolster relationships and elevate voices 

Short-term goals (What we hoped to achieve at the convening) 

  • Describe need for long-term care among undocumented Illinoisans and how it affects health, quality of life, and implications for the health care system 
  • Identify concrete opportunities to use regulation and legislation to expand long-term care coverage (with at least one opportunity shared by each action tank) 
  • Compile case studies for use in advocacy materials 

At the time of registration, participants were asked to select which Action Tank they would like to join based off their interests and area of practice. Action tanks are essentially spaces for us to come together to devise action-oriented next steps on the specific topic at-hand. Each action tank came together across the two-day convening to devise realistic and achievable goals and strategies. 

Overarching themes spanning multiple action tanks 
  • Community education and empowerment 
  • Expansion of services and coverage 
  • Cultural competency 
  • Standardization and collaboration 
  • Utilization of social care workers
  • Strengthening CBO and provider partnerships 
  • Accessibility and intersectionality
  • Community trust and relationship-building
  • Getting the message to policymakers and advocates

Read the full report