Chicago Passes Ordinance Set to Eliminate the Subminimum Wage in Four Years
Last Tuesday, the Chicago City Council passed a budget as well as a management ordinance that included a four year elimination of the subminimum wage. The Arc, along with Access Living, the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities, and Anixter participated in the press conference, which include testimony from Paris Eatmonds, a self advocate who worked with Anixter to move to a community job.
The Arc of Illinois commits to work with the city, state, providers and advocates to ensure people currently in sheltered work can have the opportunity to move into community employment and advocate for more community jobs for people who want to work across the state. We call on the state to put resources and learning into this effort as well!
Waiting List and Staffing Crisis Covered In Tribune
Check out this great article from the Chicago Tribune’s Marie Fazio about people impacted by the PUNS waiting list as well as the key issues of underfunding of staff, which is creating the staffing crisis, made more significant with the passage of the wage bill in Chicago. We encourage people to contact Marie Fazio, the report to say thank you for covering these critical issues.
Towards Universal Mobility: Charting a Path to Improve Transportation Accessibility
Check out this new report. I attended a great presentation today regarding the recommendations in the report which include having regional mobility specialists and doing much better data collection, breaking down regional silos to transportation and focusing on funding among other things. Check it out here:https://bit.ly/2YkN9MM.
Discussions Continue around Seclusion and Restraint
Last week, Arc leaders met with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and other advocates to discuss both the emergency steps already taken and possible further administrative and legislative actions around seclusion and restraint. ISBE plans to release a proposed final rule around December 9, which we will have further opportunity to comment on before it becomes a final rule. We are continuing to meet with advocates to talk about aspects to a collective bill on this issue and ISBE has agreed to partner with us on it. As you know, Rep Carroll has already introduced legislation on this topic.
Thank you to all those individuals, families and school staff who have shared stories with the Arc about your experiences and concerns regarding any changes to the rules. I really appreciating hearing real experiences and helping them inform the Arc policy on this issue. I also want to thank Arc Board members, staff and leaders who are working in a subgroup to make recommendations about the Arc of Illinois policy on seclusion and restraint.
As a bill unfolds in the Spring Legislative Session, we will need more families and individuals to speak up for critical changes. You can let me know if you are willing to do this by emailing email@example.com.
Still Time to Comment – You can still submit comments to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) about the proposed emergency rules which will be used to inform the draft final rule found at this link. Information, questions, input should be directed to: Azita Kakvand, Agency Rules Coordinator, Illinois State Board of Education, 100 North First Street Springfield, Illinois 62777-0001, (217) 782-6510, firstname.lastname@example.org, You can simply send a letter or an email about your experience and/or why/how isolation/seclusion of students with disabilities is a problem.
DDD Notice Around ISC Choice
In order to come into compliance with the language of the waiver, Director Stark shared that the Division is requiring waiver recipients to use the ISC based where they live. As you might remember, individuals previously could choose to change ISCs if they made a formal request. A freeze on this practice was put into place initially during the consolidation of ISCs through the NOFO. The Arc was not supportive of the initial freeze and still has concerns. However, in talking with the Division, they have to follow the language of the waiver with explicitly states that people will not have a choice in case management. For those who previously made changes in their ISCs, if the ISCs agree, they can keep their choice. If you have issues going forward, please contact the Arc. We have recommended that the Division might want to have a point person if there are cases where people have used the internal complaint systems in ISCs and are still not satisfied. Here is the letter from Director Stark:
December 2, 2019
As discussed during the October 29, 2019 ISC Quarterly Meeting, the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) has been reviewing the previous ISSA choice process that had been in place prior to its March 2019 suspension. As detailed below, we have decided not to reinstate the process.
Many factors contributed to this decision. Chiefly, over the course of the ISC transition process, the Division became aware of a number of ISC changes that had not been previously communicated. Given the resulting tracking and coverage complications, it became clear that, if reinstated, new guidance would, at a minimum, have to include a formal process for notification and review. We ultimately determined that these challenges and potential complications weighed against reinstatement.
While the Division is not required to offer participants a choice of ISC, in order to be respectful of the previous arrangements of families and the agencies, the Division will grandfather and honor changes that took place prior to March 31, 2019. This will be conditioned on a signed agreement between the geographically assigned ISC and the chosen ISC provider. We will provide a form for this signed agreement, along with detailed instructions, no later than December 13th. DDD will then review and formally accept or reject the arrangement.
Going forward, we recognize that conflicts with an ISC case manager may arise from time to time. The expectation will be that conflict resolution will start with assignment to a different case manager within the same ISC agency. Conflicts that may not be addressable through assignment to a different case manager will be handled by Division review on a case-by-case basis.
The Division believes this is the best solution to the challenges of the previous practice. At the same time, if you are aware of a situation that falls outside of the above parameters, please reach out to me.
Thank you for your understanding – and I look forward to continuing to work with you on the many important issues we face.
Other DDD Updates
3.5% implementation – Agencies should be seeing the 3.5% rate increase soon. My understanding is that everything has been inputted by the Division so providers should see the changes now or in the next week or so including the retroactivity. See here for the DDD Bulletin today. July 1, 2019 COLA & FY2019 Rollover (DD.19.010) http://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=121149
DD Hub Pilot Project Reminder – This is a reminder that the functions of the DD Hub Pilot Project transferred to Family and Community Services (FCS) Office 238 effective December 1, 2019. Office 238 will continue to process Medicaid Waiver cases. DDD provided Office 238 with a list of all Waiver participants so FCS can earmark individuals in the Medicaid system. This process will ensure Medicaid redeterminations will go directly to Office 238, instead of the local offices, in the future. We are currently working on putting systems in place as new individuals enter waiver funded services to follow the same process.
The DHS.DD.MediRede@Illinois.gov e-mail address has been transferred to Office 238 so you can continue to use this method to communicate your Medicaid questions and issues.
Office 238 will be supervised by Dianne Barbey, who can be reached at Dianne.Barbey@illinois.gov or (217) 557-7818. Dianne’s supervisor is Lori Littleton who is the Bureau Chief of the Local Office Transaction and Support Services (LOTSS). Lori can be reached at Lori.Littleton@illinois.gov. Please contact Dianne as you have Jay Bohn, in the past, with your questions or concerns regarding Medicaid eligibility. Please copy Lori when sending an email message to Dianne. Your first points of contact should be to Dianne and Lori. If resolution has not occurred, please contact Derek Hedges at the Division of DD at Derek.Hedges@illinois.gov or (217) 782-5919.
Rates Survey – Navigant has set up a website dedicated to our project. There you can find the survey itself, as well as the instructions for completing it, and access to a recording of the webinar training on completion of the survey Navigant hosted last week. The website can be found at https://public.navigant.com/sites/ildddratesurvey/SitePages/Home.aspx.
In addition, you can submit questions directly to Navigant at mailto:ILDDDRates@Navigant.com. The Navigant team has been fielding questions and will post them to the website as a FAQ early next week. Finally, you can call the team directly during normal work hours at (312) 625-3334.
Great News! EXPANDING SOCIAL SECURITY FIELD OFFICE HOURS
Currently, a Social Security field office is generally open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to Noon on Wednesdays. Beginning on January 8, 2020, offices will remain open until 4:00 p.m. on Wednesdays.