Today we have an Arc Staff meeting at the Frankfort office and then I will head down to the
Capitol for what promises to be a very challenging end of session.
Below is Director Fenton’s “Communication Bulletin” which acknowledges some of the
good work on The Arc’s Ligas Family Advocacy Program. The Director also shares with us
some insight on the new Dept. of Human Services Secretary Dimas.
From: Director Greg Fenton
Welcome to the latest edition of our Communication Bulletin.
The last two weeks have been very busy for all of us. As a result, the plan to announce a
contest to give a permanent name to our newsletter was delayed. I hope to send
something out to all division employees by the end of the month. As I write this, I have
just completed a visit to Murray Developmental Center with Secretary-Designate James
T. Dimas and Chief of Staff Melissa Wright. I want to thank Acting Deputy Director Jerry
Stam , the Murray staff, the Murray Parents and family members for their many efforts for
the Murray individuals. After great meetings with the Murray staff and the members of the
Murray Parents Association, we briefly toured the grounds before departing. As we
approached one well decorated living area, I inquired about who was responsible for the
decorations, and was informed that a staff member, Karen Gibson, decorated the home
with one hundred dollars of her own money. I’m so glad that people like Ms. Gibson are
drawn to this field of work.
When we left the Murray Center, we toured Brian Manor, a facility that serves individuals
with complex medical needs. I was impressed with the staff who all appeared genuinely
committed to the work they perform. What was amazing about Brian Manor was the
smell – there wasn’t any. And that speaks volumes about the facility’s staff and its
Last week I had the opportunity to meet with representatives from the Institute on Public
Policy for People with Disabilities. We discussed Life Choices, updates on the Ligas
Consent Decree, the proposed budget for FY16, and other areas of interest. I enjoy
being able to exchange ideas and philosophies with the many dedicated advocates,
stakeholders, providers, consultants and professionals in our field.
Early this week, I participated (by phone) in the quarterly Ligas Collaboration Group
meeting as well as a Ligas Family Advocate meeting. The Arc Ligas Family Advocate
Program is an initiative that connects individuals and families who are new to services
with an experienced family advocate. The advocates are able to share their unique
perspectives as stakeholders in the DDD service system. The initiative’s initial focus has
been on the greater Chicago area and the St. Louis Metropolitan area. This group is
ably led by Shirley Perez as Executive Director. Shirley and her team are truly making
a difference by reaching out to Ligas class members and working with families to help
them navigate through some very difficult personal decisions. For more information,
contact the Family Support Network: (708) 331-7370 or email
The Division recently coordinated with the Department of Healthcare and Family
Services on a presentation to Independent Service Coordination (ISC) agencies
regarding Illinois’ participation in the Federal Balancing Incentive Program (BIP).
The presentation was very informative and participants appreciated the opportunity to
learn more about the BIP and new ways to serve more people in home and community-
based settings. I am hopeful there will be additional opportunities to collaborate with our
sister agencies on programs such as this.
On the Move:
Gloria Heggy, Quality Enhancement Specialist, is retiring May 31, 2015 after more than
29 years of state service. Gloria held positions in the Division’s Medicaid Waiver section
and Bureau of Best Practices and since 2008 had been a major contributor to the
successes of the Quality Enhancement Section. In 2009, Gloria received the IDHS Going
the Extra Mile (GEM) award for her outstanding service every day to fellow employees,
providers, advocacy organization, stakeholders and people with developmental disabilities
and for leading the Direct Support Person (DSP) Training Revision Work Group which
developed an updated DSP training curriculum used today by more than 300 community
provider agencies. Speaking for all of us within the Division, we will miss her initiative,
high level of productivity, quality work products and work ethic in helping the Division
maintain excellent provider/customer service standards.
Randy Waselewski, will be retiring effective the end of the month. Randy joined the
Division in 1989 as assistant to the Fiscal Director at Shapiro Developmental Center. Ten
years later, he accepted a promotional transfer to Fox Developmental Center where he
served as Business Manager and Operations Manager. His responsibilities included fiscal
management, transportation, grounds maintenance, security, telecom and IT. During the
ensuing years, Randy assumed additional positions of responsibility at Fox. Finally, in
2013 he was reassigned to SODC Operations where he has worked closely with me,
Jerry Stam and most recently, Kathy Ward. Most recently, he has assisted with the
coverage of a limited number of Division Central Office fiscal functions.
Thelma Crawford also announced her plans to leave the Division effective May 20.
Thelma began working for IDHS at is inception – with her first job being in the office of
the first IDHS Secretary, Howard Peters. She then moved to the Training Unit, and for
the last few years has served as Administrative Assistant in the Bureau of Community
Finally, as announced in our last Communications Bulletin, Arden Gregory will also be
retiring at the end of the month.
Gloria, Randy, Thelma and Arden will truly be missed. We wish all of them happiness
and good health as they embark on this new and exciting stage in their lives.
In addition to the above, another move may be underway. The Division has been
notified that it will be vacating the office space at the Centrum Building. Current plans
call for us to be moving to space at 400 Iles Park Place. We believe this will take place
this Fall, but nothing is definite at this point in time. We will keep you informed of any
updates as we become aware of them.
Updates from the Bureaus:
Community Services: On Thursday, May 14th I attended a meeting at the Illinois
Council on Developmental Disabilities (ICDD) where Mary Spriggs-Ploessl gave a
presentation on the Life Choices Project. This project is being funded by the ICDD, and
we can’t thank Director Romano, her staff and the Council for their generous support.
During the meeting, a family member asked that the Division remind families of its practice
of “unbundled services”. By way of this newsletter, we want to inform or remind self-
advocates and families that in November of 2000, Illinois “unbundled” day program and
individual professional therapy reimbursement from the Community Integrated Living
Arrangement (CILA) individual residential rate. As a result, eligible individuals who receive
CILA are “authorized” for a variety of day program services. Those services can be
provided to the person by any certified day program provider agency. This change
increases the personal choice of day program activities in which persons who receive
CILA could choose to participate and widen the number of community agencies from
which services could be provided.
Life Choices: Mary Spriggs-Ploessl has been engaging in outreach across the State
since assuming overall responsibility for the Life Choices Project. Below is a summary of
recent activities as well as upcoming events. There are still many opportunities for staff
and stakeholders to be involved. If you are interested in participating in this initiative,
please contact Mary Spriggs Ploessl, Statewide Coordinator for Life Choices Initiative, at
Mary.Spriggs-Ploessl@illinois.gov, 217-524-2514, or 217-836-4008.
Scheduled information gathering sessions with self-advocates and executive director of
The Alliance at 4-6 locations across Illinois.
Scheduled presentation at The Alliance’s Annual Rally on July 2015.
Scheduled presentation to families/guardians associated with The Arc of Illinois’ Family
Network on June 16, 2015.
Scheduled presentation at The Center’s DD Symposium on July 10, 2015.
Continue collaboration with executive director of IARF and key members to discuss
proposed system changes in Illinois.
Continue collaboration with ISC Executive Directors and Program Managers to discuss
proposed system changes [i.e., executive director monthly meeting scheduled on June
11, 2015, and program managers’ quarterly meeting scheduled on June 3, 2015].
Collaborate with the Governor’s Housing Coordinator, Lore Baker, regarding Life Choices
and housing opportunities, statewide.
Continue collaboration with the Illinois Institute on Public Policy for People with
Disabilities along with Don Moss and Associates regarding proposed system changes.
Schedule meeting with the executive director of The Council on Quality and Leadership
and other stakeholders.
Next Steps include: Monitor completion of High Impact/Very Do-able recommendations;
Develop and implement a phase-in strategy and schedule for training recommendations;
Identify what is needed to implement High Impact/Will Take More Time
recommendations; Develop and implement a plan for longer-term implementation steps;
and Facilitate Steering Committee meeting on May 28, 2015.
Flexible/Alternative Day Services: I’m pleased to announce that two Division senior staff
members, MarySpriggs-Ploessl and Daryl Jackson, will be working collaboratively to
formulate a workgroup to discuss strategies to address the issue of alternative/flexible day
services. Although we have already received a lot of volunteers for the workgroup, if
you’re interested in joining the workgroup, please contact at
Mary.Spriggs-Ploessl@illinois.gov, 217-524-2514, or 217-836-4008.
Provider Expo: Recently, the Bureau of Transitional Services assisted Shapiro
Developmental Center in hosting a Provider Expo. As previously reported, Provider Expos
provide individuals, guardians, family members, and SODC staff an opportunity to learn
about community-based service options.
Program Development and Medicaid Administration: New IMPACT Enrollment System –
Illinois is in the process of developing a new provider enrollment system in an effort to
modernize the current 30-year-old Medicaid Management Information system (MMIS). The
new system, known as Illinois Medicaid Program and Advanced Cloud Technology
(IMPACT) is intended to provide a more convenient, streamlined and user-friendly
experience. IMPACT will replace only the use of paper applications used to enroll as a
Medicaid provider. Current requirements for providers and additional documentation will
still be required by the Division to determine provider qualifications, secure access to the
ROCS electronic billing system to submit claims and receive payments, etc.
There will be a temporary suspension of Medicaid enrollments beginning May 29, 2015.
HFS will stop accepting new provider applications and paper-based updates before the
IMPACT system comes online. HFS has extended the deadline until June 24, 2015 for
paper enrollments of all personal support workers under the Home-Based Support
Services Program that use Access or Public Partnership, LLC as their fiscal employer
agent. The enrollments and revalidation for the personal support workers will also be
handled by the fiscal employer agents.
The opening for new enrollments and revalidation for current enrolled providers in the
IMPACT system is scheduled for August 3rd, 2015. All currently enrolled Medicaid
providers will be required to re-validate their information in the IMPACT system by
December 31, 2015. Providers will need to alert their staff to be on the lookout for an
IMPACT mailing on yellow paper. The IMPACT mailing will contain a state-assigned
application ID number that will be used for the revalidation process. The ID numbers will be
distributed by postal mail in May and then again in July of 2015. Application identification
numbers will only be mailed to providers who are currently enrolled in the Medical
Assistance Program. The IMPACT help desk will also have the application ID numbers if
providers did not receive them.
The Division issued an Information Bulletin about the IMPACT system earlier this month. It
can be found at http://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=78276. We appreciate all
providers who participated in the May 13th and May 20th webinars on the IMPACT system.
An IMPACT Provider Enrollment Part 2 webinar is also scheduled for June 10 from 1:00 to
2:30 p.m.. Registration for the June 10th webinar is available here.
The IMPACT website (http://IMPACTinfo.illinois.gov) is the best resource for ongoing
project updates, webinars and training opportunities. For questions regarding the IMPACT
system, please contact the IMPACT Help Desk via email at IMPACT.Help@Illinois.gov or
by phone at (877) 782-5565.
State Operated Developmental Centers: The Management Development Committee has
submitted recommendations for the next phase of management training at the centers.
These recommendations will be discussed at the monthly center directors meeting on May
28. The Mabley Center finished its annual Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH)
Survey with 10 standard level citations. A plan of correction will be submitted within 10 days
of the final report form IDPH. During the Life Safety portion of this survey, the Center
received 8 minor, very fixable code violations. Thanks to Tiffany Bailey and her staff at
Mabley for the hard work that went into achieving these excellent results.
As stated at the beginning of this newsletter, I had the pleasure of spending a whole day
with Secretary-Designate Dimas and Chief of Staff Melissa Wright on Wednesday, May
20th. Secretary Dimas impressed me, and I am confident that he will Designate Dimas
and Chief of Staff Melissa Wright on Wednesday, May 20th. Secretary Dimas impressed
me, and I am confident that he will impress you, too. He has been described as an
experienced leader in transforming human services departments at the state and local
level, including Illinois. He was a primary architect in the consolidation of the current
agency. He worked in a number of roles at IDHS including the Acting Director of
Community Operations. He also led strategic planning and performance management, as
well as, the welfare-to-work system. As the Acting Director of Community Operations, he
led one of the nation’s most successful welfare-to-work initiatives by increasing the monthly
job retention rate among TANF clients to 96 percent. He also decreased the TANF caseload
and food stamp error rate. Secretary-Designate also led IDHS’ move to performance-based
budgeting and oversaw the transformation of using performance knowledge to improve
I was immediately impressed with Secretary-Designate Dimas when he announced the
appointment of Melissa Wright as his Chief of Staff. Secretary-designate Dimas has known
Melissa for 18 years and she has served IDHS and, prior to its creation, the Department of
Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities with great distinction in the roles of Director
of the Division of Developmental Disabilities, Director of Operations for the Division of
Community Health and Prevention, Director of the Office of Business Services Administrator,
Acting Secretary, and Acting Chief of Staff. Given her wealth of critical knowledge and
experience in the Department of Human Services (DHS), Melissa will be a tremendous asset
to Secretary-Designate Dimas as he formulates his action agenda.
By the way, please make sure you are now using DHS Letterhead with Secretary-Designate
Dimas’s name. You should have received a sample boilerplate earlier this week. If you
need an additional copy, please contact your supervisor or Mary Broughton in my office. All
over versions of DHS Letterhead should be recycled or otherwise taken out of circulation.
On his first day on the job, Secretary-Designate Dimas said three things that resonated with
me and I believe provided a glimpse of his leadership philosophies.
First, he said that he sees his primary role as “creating conditions for his leadership staff to
be successful”, and he expects the same of all staff in leadership positions. I share this
philosophy, and believe staff in leadership positions have a responsibility to run interference,
eliminate barriers and create a work climate and culture that leads to results and job
Second, he believes that it is imperative that we have the “right people on the right seats
on the bus”. I firmly agree that the best way to maximize our organizational investment is
by ensuring we have the right people in the right positions.
And finally, he believes strongly in performance management, and using data to make
good decisions about what works and what doesn’t work. I couldn’t agree more. Too often,
we find ourselves making decisions based on what we think or feel – not the facts. I am
excited about the prospect of using data to drive decision-making and to improve
American Statistician W. Edwards Deming once said: “In God we trust, all others must bring
Even with the challenges we have before us, I am gratified to be surrounded by such a
talented team of professionals. I am especially excited about the opportunities to work with
Secretary-designate Dimas and other members of the DHS Management Team.
Tony Paulauski Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423