Supported Employment Webinar – Speak Up to Get the Job You Want

Sept 6 at 11 am
This will be a modified webinar version of a presentation we have been doing with DDD and DRS staff around the state.  The goal of the training is to engage people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families around the supported employment process in Illinois to help more people get the jobs they want.

3.5% rate Increase
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is reviewing the state’s request to retroactively institute the 3.5% rate increase as of July 1.  We know that HFS and DHS are very concerned with and supportive of ensuring providers can get the full amount articulated in the state budget.  The They Deserve More Campaign has begun sharing with some of the supportive legislators an update and the concerns that providers are seeing significant impacts to their budgets because they planned for the increase to address increased salaries and other costs.  This was a crisis and the delay is making it worse!  CMS is reviewing the state’s requests around their 9 waivers including the DD Adult Services Waiver.  

In July, the Center for Developmental Disabilities Advocacy and Community Support’s (“The Center”) requested a Public Hearing regarding DHS’s rulemaking related to the 3.5% Rate Increase.  The DHS 3.5% Rulemaking Public Hearing is TENTATIVELY scheduled for Sept 12th, between 1pm & 3pm, in Springfield.  They are waiting for confirmation to finalize the Hearing details.  There is an opportunity to testify about the critical important to getting the whole 3.5% and highlight the continued crisis.  I will provide further details when they come out.

Arc Leaders Meet with Administration Officials
Over the past two weeks, Arc Board, Staff and Advocates met with a number of administration officials to discuss our priorities.  We met with Sec Hou and Assistant Sec Coleman two Friday’s ago.  We discussed the need for a universal assessment for all people with I/DD and the need for more data about people’s needs and desires so services can more accurately reflect the current and future need.  We talked about short term stabilization homes and diversion homes as well as the expand capacity in the community to support people regardless of their support needs.

We met with DRS Director Rahnee Patrick about implementation of Customized Employment pilot program and addressing what we see are biases against people with I/DD in DRS and challenges with providers trying to join the DRS contracting system.
We also spoke with Doug Elwell, Administrator of Medicaid for HFS regarding Medicaid issues that we are seeing and that are coming down the pike.  We got an update on EVV (electronic visit verification).  He highlighted that the state was very far behind on implementation and has asked for a federal good faith extension.  He agreed to make sure families are looped in to inform the process.  I would expect a public hearing/discussion in Sept/Oct.  Lastly we had a discussion about rebalancing, non certified homes, diversion and short term stabilization homes.  Also this week, Arc staff met with Medicaid policy staff regarding comments submitted by the Arc’s family to family health information center program about medicaid re-determination especially with children.  More on that next week.

Governor Signs Important Bills for I/DD
The Governor has signed Arc sponsored bills: HB 3483 (revises PUNS statute), SB 2087(creates
Customized Employment pilot program) and HB 2987 (recreates the Protection of Individuals with Disabilities in the Criminal Justice System Task Force).  We are still waiting for him to sign HB3299 (Sex education, health, safety bill).  

ISC Roll Out – Updated
As we have reported previously, Prairieland will now be the Independent Service Coordination agency for the Metro East/St. Claire county area.  Attached is a letter that is going out to individuals and guardians who receive services through Independent Service Coordination agency, Developmental Disabilities Services Metro East (DDSME). We are providing this letter to you as an informational resource should you receive contacts from individuals or guardians from the DDSME area. If any questions, please contact Maureen Haugh Stover within the Division of Developmental Disabilities at 217-782-9692 or email

Ligas PUNS Pull Official
Last week the Division sent out 1,247 letters to people who have officially been pulled off the PUNS waiting list and will be able to receive services.  If you are one of them, please do not forget that the Arc has the Ligas Family Advocate Program to help you wade through any of the confusion and support you from the family perspective.  You can email if you want to connect with them.  We are excited that the Division raised the number from the pre-selection amount of more than 980 in order to ensure that the reasonable pace of 630 taking waiver services is met.

Ligas Court Meeting/Follow Up
The Ligas plaintiffs and the state were back in court two weeks ago to give an update to the judge regarding the outcome of the state budget.  Although there were some positive notes regarding the fast track of the rates consultant, the judge was unhappy with the state’s inability to give a specific update on the implementation of the 3.5 % rate increase.  She scheduled a follow up hearing August 29 at 2:30 pm and asked the court monitor to submit a report prior to that.  There was a passionate discussion about the fact that the 3.5% rate increase does not keep up with the minimum wage increase in Chicago, thus shifting the burden of supporting staff for people with disabilities from the state to nonprofit providers by $1000 per person per year. 

Survey from the Arc of US:  We Need YOUR Input!
Help us understand what the future should look like for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  Through this survey, we want to hear your perspective about how we can all work to create a world where the disability community receives the support, services, and care they need and the respect they deserve.   The survey should take no more than 30 minutes to complete. Survey responses are anonymous. If you have any problems responding to this survey, please email Shakir Cannon-Moye at
This survey is also available in Spanish (español).
Please forward this survey to anyone whose perspective can help inform how we support the community.

Other States:

Minnesota Becomes First State to Fund Housing Support Services Using Medicaid

Minnesota recently received federal approval to implement services helping seniors and people with disabilities, especially those struggling with mental illness and substance abuse, find and maintain housing. The plan notes the link between safe, affordable housing and health and would use Medicaid funds to help those eligible find a safe place to live and provide behavioral services to help prevent evictions and homelessness. 

California Joins States Filing Lawsuit Against Trump Administration’s Public Charge Rule

California, Washington D.C. and 12 other states filed lawsuits challenging the Trump administration’s new public charge rule.

The ruling penalizes immigrants filing for a green card and use public assistance such as SNAP, Medicaid, and Section 8 Housing.

The lawsuit argues that this new rule creates unnecessary obstacles and fear for immigrant families, discouraging them from using programs to help health, nutrition and housing.

The effects are particularly worrisome for California where half of the state’s children have an immigrant parent.