Proposed Changes to Home Services Program for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities
Recently, Susy Woods, Chair of The Arc’s Public Policy Committee and I met with Kris Smith, Acting Director for the Division of Rehabilitation Services. Susy and I wanted to get further clarification on possible cuts to services to individuals with intellectual disabilities in the Home Services Program.
The three areas of concern I have are:
The elimination of all Home Services to persons with only an intellectual disability currently enrolled in Home Services.
The exclusion of individuals with only an intellectual disability for future Home Services.
The elimination of respite services to children and adults with intellectual disabilities only.
We understand the change by eliminating individuals with a diagnosis of only mental illness or only an intellectual disability from the Home Services Program. This change will impact approximately 400 new applicants.
Services to individuals under the age of 18 will be eliminated. This change will impact up to 1,300 children.
Director Smith explained to me that the Home Services Waiver was created for individuals with physical disabilities. She further stated that individuals who happen to have an intellectual disability and a physical disability would continue to be eligible for Home Services as long as they met the eligibility criteria.
It is good to know that Director Smith and Director Casey have been in preliminary discussions to develop a plan to move individuals with only an intellectual disability in Home Services to the Home-Based Program. This change would however fully exclude future enrollment of individuals with only intellectual disability from the Home Services Program leaving them the only option of being on the waiting list for Home-Based Services. The PUNS Waiting List is now 21,000 children and adults.
If this change is to take place, The Arc recommends that all children and adults with an intellectual only disability in the Home Services Program be transitioned into the Children’s or Adult Home-Based Services Waiver as soon as possible so that their services will remain intact.
The problems with this solution is obvious, with a waiting list of 21,000 waiting for services, I am extremely concerned about children and adults with only an intellectual disability will no longer be eligible for Home Services. Up until now these individuals have been at least able to access a variety of Home Services.
Home Services is much more than just respite care. If you are eligible for Home Services, you are eligible for the following:
DHS-DRS Home Services Program (from their website)
The Illinois Department of Human Services’ Division of Rehabilitation Services (DHS/DRS) is the state’s lead agency serving persons with disabilities. Our staff work one-on-one with individuals who have disabilities and their families to empower them to reach their employment, education, and independent living goals.
Through our Home Services Program we provide services to individuals with the most significant disabilities so they can remain in their homes and live as independently as possible. Our customers are empowered to live self-directed lives, be actively involved in their communities, and retain control over the services they receive.
The following services can enable individuals with disabilities to remain at home:
• Personal Assistant (PA): Provides assistance with household tasks, personal care and, with permission of a doctor, certain health care procedures. PAs are selected, employed and supervised by the individual customer. As part of this service, background checks can be obtained on any PA hired by the customer.
• Homemaker Services: Agency-based services for personal care and household duties to customers who have difficulty or are unable to self-direct a PA.
• Home Health Services: CNA, LPN or RN services prescribed by the physician to meet the health, safety, and medical needs of the customer. Speech, physical, and occupational therapies may also be available.
• Electronic Home Response: A rented device to provide 24 hour access to emergency personnel in an emergency situation within the home.
• Home Delivered Meals: Nutritious meals prepared and delivered to customers’ homes through a variety of community-based service providers.
• Adult Day Care: The direct care and supervision of customers in a community-based setting for the purpose of promoting social, physical, and emotional well-being.
• Assistive Equipment: Devices or equipment purchased, repaired or rented to promote independence, prevent an increase in care, reduce or eliminate another service or ensure the customers’ health and safety in the home.
• Environmental Modifications: Structural changes within the home environment or exterior for accessibility needs that enhance customer independence, prevent an increase in care, reduce or eliminate another service or ensure the customers’ health and safety in the home.
• Respite Services: Temporary care for adults and children with disabilities to relieve stress to families. Respite services may be provided for vacation, rest, errands, family crisis or emergency. Services may include personal assistant, adult day care, homemaker or home health.
• Brain Injury (BI) Behavioral/Cognitive: Remedial therapies provided to persons with brain injuries to decrease severe maladaptive behaviors. These services are intended to enable customers to better manage their behavior and be more capable of living independently.
• Brain Injury (BI) Habilitation: Services provided to persons with brain injuries that assist with the acquisition, retention, or improvement in self-help, socialization and adaptive skills. These services are provided in a setting separate from the customers’ residence.
• Brain Injury (BI) Pre-Vocational Services: Services provided to persons with brain injuries that prepare them for paid or unpaid employment by teaching concepts such as compliance, attendance, task completion, problem solving and safety.
• Brain Injury (BI) Supported Employment: Services provided to persons with brain injuries for whom competitive employment is unlikely. These services include intensive ongoing support to enable the persons to perform in a paid employment work setting.
• Community Reintegration Project: In conjunction with Centers for Independent Living, provides eligible persons who reside in a nursing home the opportunity for integrated independent community living through self-directed, cost effective options
Tony Paulauski Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423