Happy August!  This is a great opportunity to connect with your federal and state elected officials.  Check https://townhallproject.com/ to find town halls and other public events where you might be able to see your Representative or one of your Senators.

3.5% rate increase update
A group of They Deserve More members met on Wednesday with the HFS and DHS leadership to reinforce our concerns around making sure a full year of funding for the rate increase is applied.  Last Friday this letter was released indicating increases would not be seen until September at the earliest ( Letter from DHS Sec Hou Today).  We are working to partner and problem solve with the Departments to address the billing issues and hope to have good news for you soon.  Arc leaders are meeting with Sec Hou today about other issues and will reiterate our concerns and support for coming up with a solution.

Join the Arc and Protect Our Care on Monday to Celebrate the Governor Signing SB1321
SB1321, the Medicaid Omnibus Bill, including Protect Our Care Illinois’ redetermination reforms, will be signed by Governor Pritzker on Monday, August 5th!  The state has struggled for years to complete Medicaid applications in a timely fashion and prevent lapses in Medicaid coverage at renewal. We are hopeful that this bill will finally implement the reforms needed to streamline Medicaid renewal processes and better ensure our state’s three million Medicaid recipients will get the health care they need.  Join us for an important moment for our collective work on this issue and to commemorate the progress we have made. 

Where: Esperanza Health Center, 4700 South California Avenue, Chicago, IL
When: Monday, August 5th at 11 am. Attendees are asked to arrive by 10:30 am.

NB Consent Decree

NB is a consent decree focused on kids on Medicaid who have significant mental health and/or behavioral health issues.  The consent decree is focused on expanding community based 

Check out these great new videos from CSH
Monday, July 29 – Premiere of CSH Video featuring Heather Riggs!

Our newest video with English captions is released today by ICDD on their Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities YouTube Channel! – Heather Riggs of Hinsdale teaches her students about supportive housing in the class-room. I want her as my teacher! This is being released as a resource for classroom teachers showing a lesson plan for transition teachers of special education teachers preparing older students for potentially living on their own.
Friday, Aug 2 Premiere – Why is a Field Trip so important in changing people’s expectations?
See Heather talk about creating the opportunity for her class. “I think it is important to have our students go out into the community and visit an actual supportive housing apartment in the community.” This video follows the same special education class as they go on a field trip to see supportive housing. This talks about the importance of people with IDD actually seeing the housing in person. Heather is the first teacher in Illinois that began to take her students to see supportive housing. You see the students react to the visit and seeing the housing. This complements all the parent education that Julie, Stephanie, and I have been doing that is also a part of this video.

From Family Voices:
Congress Clears Bill to Extend F2F Program and Money-Follows-the-Person

The House and Senate have both passed a bill to fund Family-to-Family Health Information Centers (F2Fs) for five more years – through FY 2024 – at the current funding level of $6 million per year.  The legislation also makes permanent the provision that requires the establishment of F2Fs for territories and tribes.  Within the next few weeks, the president is expected to sign the bill into law.

The F2F provision was included in a bill, the Sustaining Excellence in Medicaid Act of 2019 (H.R. 3253), which was formerly titled the Empowering Beneficiaries, Ensuring Access, and Strengthening Accountability Act of 2019, sponsored by Rep. Deborah Dingell (D-MI). The bill also extends several other programs, including the Money-Follows-the-Person demonstration program and the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic demonstration program. The original bills to extend the F2F program (S. 1647 and H.R. 2822) were sponsored by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and by Representatives Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) and Fred Upton (R-MI). For more background information, see the Family Voices website.

This 5-year funding extension will help F2Fs more effectively and efficiently plan ahead, retain experienced staff, and expand partnerships in the community.

House and Senate Passes Two-Year Budget Bill;
On July 25, the House passed a bill reflecting a budget agreement between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. The legislation, which is supported by the president, will increase both defense and non-defense “discretionary” (appropriated) spending for federal fiscal years 2020 and 2021, and suspend the nation’s debt ceiling until July 31, 2021, averting a default on the national debt until later that year. See Sweeping Budget Deal Passes House Despite Weak GOP Support (Politico, 7/25/19). The Senate passed the legislation yesterday.  By a vote of 67-28, the Senate ignored late-hour appeals from some conservative Republicans who support bigger military expenditures and tax cuts that constrain revenues but were angered over more spending for non-defense domestic programs. (Cowan, 8/1)