Hope everyone is having a good Thursday.  I wanted to share a couple of updates:

1) Yesterday, a number of Arc leaders participated in the CMS Region V meeting.  A shout out to IARF for leading the planning of the day.  The two topics were the HCBS rule implementation and the workforce crisis.  In addition to having about six CMS staff participating, sharing and listening, the states jointly plan to submit our priorities and recommendations to CMS directly.  More to follow about the discussion but here are some quick takeaways:

  • The HCBS rules are still planned to be implemented.  However, in the next 2-3 months CMS plans on releasing a more detailed guidance on “characteristics of home and community based services” that will help the state with heightened scrutiny reviews.  Melissa Harris also highlighted that CMS’ goal is not to close down providers but instead to help providers to address any concerns around isolation of individuals especially during day programming.  They indicated that CMS was working everyday with states including Illinois to address any concerns around their yet to be approved transition plans.  She indicated they were pretty close to being done/approved.
  • Although CMS was very clear to say we should not expect new money from them to address the workforce issue, they are very aware of it and are looking for ways to help support states to address it.  They listened yesterday to ideas we had about addressing it.
  • Director Fenton presented IL efforts to begin identifying TANF recipients who might be possible DSP workers.  OH showed us a new statewide website that people can go to see job opportunities and apply directly – there is potential with this!  www.dspohio.org and Sarah Meek from ANCOR talked about a number of potential opportunities including possible draft state language around rate transparency.

2) Federal OIG Report – As some of you might have heard, the Joint Report on Ensuring Beneficiary Health and Safety in Group Homes through State Implementation of Comprehensive Client Oversight was released this week.  This report reflects the federal Office of the Inspector General investigation of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont among other states around the state’s oversight of critical incident reporting and enforcement.  We definitely have concerns that other states will be pursued and some of the framing could be similar to the issues raised in the Tribune articles.  We are currently reviewing the document and will share more soon.  They have not announced additional states yet for further review.

3) Don’t miss our Leadership Conference this year – Feb 1-2.  Registration is still available and we have incorporated suggests from Executive Forum leaders.  We have leaders with state and federal perspectives as well as unique opportunities for organizations to share their experiences.  Click here to register!

4) Don’t miss listening to Gubernatorial Candidates today at 3 pm.  The Arc is co-sponsoring this event and there is an online option.  Thanks to those including Oak Leyden who is holding their own watch party.  Here is the link if you want to watch and share with your networks! Please make sure to save this link at the Access Living website, because that is the page where you will be able to access the live webcast and CART for FREE.  One link is for the webcast, and a second link is for the CART.

Meg Cooch Signature

Meg Cooch
Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423
815-464-1832 (OFFICE)