Arc Policy and Advocacy Update

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Here are some of the highlights and calls to action for this week.  For the latest news, please like us on Facebook and Twitter as well. 



State Policy and Advocacy

Thank Your Legislators!
Last week, we reached out to let you know that the State of Illinois has recently started delivering new funding to provider agencies for a 75-cents-per-hour DSP wage increase. This finally implements the DSP raise that was included in the State budget in July.

As we enter this season of Thanksgiving, we encourage you to take a moment to thank your State legislators who voted to support people with disabilities and those who care for them. We will be counting on them in the spring and in coming years to keep making progress towards a livable and competitive DSP wage.

CLICK HERE to enter your address, find out which of your legislators stood with us and send them a message of thanks.

On the They Deserve More Facebook page, we have posted a GIF (an animated image) that we invite you to share on your Facebook page and tag your elected representatives who supported us.

While this raise was a step in the right direction, much more is needed to address the ongoing DSP staffing crisis and provide DSPs with a competitive and living wage. Together, we will continue fighting for individuals with disabilities and their caregivers.
Succeeding in the New Managed Care Program Series (#1): What is my relationship with health plans that weren’t awarded a contract for the new program?

This is the first in a series of notices to help providers succeed with the upcoming enhancement of the Managed Care Program at the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS).

The new Managed Care Program is named “HealthChoice Illinois.”

Beginning on January 1, 2018, newly selected health plans under HealthChoice Illinois will have a contract to begin managing Medicaid client care in every Illinois County.

The following health plans are scheduled to begin operating as part of HealthChoice Illinois throughout Illinois starting next year:

·       Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois

·       CountyCare (available only in Cook County)

·       Harmony Health Plan

·       IlliniCare Health Plan

·       Meridian Health

·       Molina Healthcare of Illinois

·       NextLevel Health (available only in Cook County)

(Overview Notice), phased-in according to the program expansion mail schedule. Upgrades built into the program will also help providers participate more easily.

Exiting Plans: Responsibilities Continue

Providers should know that those health plans that will not be part of HealthChoice Illinois are required to meet all their contractual and financial obligations, including to their providers, throughout the upcoming transitional period.   Exiting health plans are required to ensure care for their clients through 11:59pm, December 31, 2017. The announcement of HealthChoice Illinois does not change current relationships or health plan responsibilities.
Questions regarding this notice may be directed to the Department’s Bureau of Managed Care at 217-524-7478.

To read the complete notice please click this link:

Also, the Illinois health insurance marketplace is now OPEN through December 15. Get Covered Illinois is the health insurance marketplace for those who need to buy their own insurance. Be sure to take advantage of available brokers and navigators who can help you find the right plan for your needs.



Federal Advocacy


Republicans Release their Tax Plan
Winners and Losers
Six Charts to Explain the Republican Tax Plan

There is also some discussion about whether to include a repeal of the individual mandate.  We will be watching!

CDC Turns To Tech To Flag Developmental Delays

by Shaun Heasley | October 30, 2017  The CDC is releasing a new app that parents can use to track their child’s developmental milestones.  Federal officials are introducing a new app aimed at helping parents determine if their kids may be at risk for developmental issues. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said its Milestone Tracker app is designed to help moms and dads understand when kids should be hitting certain benchmarks.

The free app includes checklists with photos and videos detailing important milestones for children ages 2 months to 5 years as well as information about when and how to talk to a doctor about potential issues.
“Skills like taking a first step, saying those first words, and waving ‘bye-bye’ are developmental milestones all parents anticipate and celebrate,” said Brenda Fitzgerald, director of the CDC. “This CDC Milestone Tracker app gives parents tips to help their child learn and grow, a way to track developmental milestones, recognize delays and the ability to share this information with their health care provider.” CDC officials said they’re hopeful that the technology can give parents the tools to alert their pediatrician if something is amiss.

The new offering is part of a broader effort from the federal agency to promote early identification of young children with developmental delays and disabilities like autism so that they can receive services and support as soon as possible.




Help Teach LEND Trainees!  Are you a family who might be willing to host 2-3 trainees and answer some questions about the needs, services, and supports they have accessed on behalf of the individual with a disability?  We offer a $50 honorarium to families that participate. Please feel free to share our flyer to anyone interested.  Here is the flier.



Important Dates!