This week, I am at the HCBS Conference in Baltimore this week, hearing from federal officials about systems change related to home and community based services, waivers, settings rules, EVV and much more.  More to follow on updates!

New DD Director!

The Arc of Illinois was so excited see that Allison Stark will be joining the Division of Developmental Disabilities as the DD Director.  Below is the notes sent out by Orchard Village, of which Allison is CEO.  We are thrilled because she has advocated for the expansion of customized employment, supported employment and meaningful day.  She will be starting Sept 23.  We so appreciate Kathy Ward, the current acting director of the Division and all the Division staff who have continued to move the work forward while the search was occurring.  

Here is the notice from Orchard Village:

To the Families, Employees, and Friends of Orchard Village:
It is with great regret that I announce that Allison Stark has tendered her resignation as President and CEO of Orchard Village effective September 13th, 2019. Allison has accepted the role of Director, Division of Developmental Disabilities, State of Illinois, commencing September 23rd, 2019.
We are proud of the work that Allison has done for Orchard Village over the past 12 years. She was integral to program expansion, increasing quality and ensuring our never wavering commitment to the people that we support. We are pleased that Allison will be able to positively impact individuals with I/DD across Illinois with her expertise, knowledge and passion in her new role.
Please join the Orchard Village Board of Directors and staff in thanking Allison for her many years of service and wish her well.
Allison will continue in her role through September 13th, 2019. In the interim, a leadership transition plan will be communicated. Rest assured, Orchard Village’s staff remains committed to delivering the highest quality service and programs to our clients. Thank you in advance for your continued support of Orchard Village through this leadership transition.
Best regards,
Stephen E. Green
Chairman of the Board
Orchard Village

Medicaid Comments – Improving Re-Determination 
At the public education subcommittee of the Medicaid Advisory Committee, HFS announced that it was indeed beginning its review of ex parte redeterminations (automatic renewals) and looking for public suggestions within the next few weeks about populations that should get this kind of renewal and any other ideas to increase those renewals. You can send your comments to Under the law, HFS will be publishing their findings (should be in about three months). As I understand it, the one paystub rule should already be in place for Medicaid. If people are hearing to the contrary, please email meg at

Here is the family to family comments submitted. 

Following up with the submission of comments, we spoke with contractors and staff from HFS/Policy around ex parte re-determination.  Ex parte means when re-determinations come up, the state may no “bother a current client unless the state can’t find information electronically.  The state uses some of the following information through social security (SSI/SSDI/SSA), access to some wage information, secretary of state for residency and death records. We continue to advocate to make it as easy as possible for people with disabilities to access and keep Medicaid.
The National Disability Institute Presents
Financial Inclusion 101
September 12, 2019 – 11:00 AM ET
Join National Disability Institute’s introduction to the Financial Wellness Training supported by the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities. This first, in a three-part webinar series, will introduce you to the concepts and importance of financial inclusion and financial wellness for people with disabilities. Research shows that more than one-quarter of adults with a disability live in poverty and over half report that they couldn’t come up with $2,000 within a month to pay for an unexpected expense. Understanding one’s finances and the importance of financial wellness is the first step in developing a pathway to a better quality of life.
This session will provide a foundation for understanding why it is important to support financial wellness for people with disabilities. It is designed for people with disabilities, their family members, disability service providers, educational programs and financial institutions.  

Please note: Real-time captioning will be provided for this webinar. For other accommodation requests, questions about the webinar, or the registration process, please contact Katie Metz at

Pennsylvania will close two state centers for intellectually disabled

The state’s Department of Human Services will close two of four remaining state centers for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Polk State Center in Venango County and White Haven State Center in Luzerne County.
The closure process will take about three years, state officials said in announcing the move Tuesday.

More from Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Changes to “Public Charge” Inadmissibility Rule: Implications for Health and
Health Coverage

In August 2019, the Trump Administration announced a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) final rule to make changes to “public charge” policies that govern how the use of public benefits may affect individuals’ ability to enter the U.S. or adjust to legal permanent resident (LPR) status (i.e., obtain a “green card”). This fact sheet provides an overview of the proposed rule and its implications for health and health coverage of immigrant families.  More from Kaiser Family Foundation

The Arc of Illinois and The Arc of the United States are opposed to any policy that will limit people with disabilities from access critical services, regardless of their or their families’ citizenship status.  Here is The Arc of the United States statement.

IlliniiCare Supporting All Kids under DCFS – Orientation Meetings
It was just announced that on November 1*, IlliniCare will become the sole Medicaid insurer for children and youth under the care of DCFS. Subsequently, all children and youth under DCFS** care will be enrolled in HFS’ HealthChoice Illinois, a Medicaid managed care specialty insurance plan. To help providers serving children and youth in foster care understand the transition process, ICOY invites you to attend one of IlliniCare’s ten statewide orientation meetings.

About IlliniCare’s orientation meetings:
These orientation meetings are intended to allow providers and IlliniCare to discuss details of the upcoming transition, focusing specifically on IlliniCare’s: provider network, billing, and process planning for the next 12-18 months. There will be time for in-person Q&As. IlliniCare Health looks forward to becoming a partner to those working tirelessly in the child welfare system.

* Transition deadline was originally October 1, 2019, but has been pushed back to November 1, 2019
** Former children and youth in care will be auto-assigned to IlliniCare Health Plan, but will be given the option to select any of the managed care plans in their region
You can attend one of the following meetings:

August 28 (10 am – 12 pm)
Register Here! 
September 11 (1 – 3 pm)
Register Here! 
September 12 (10 am – 12 pm)
Register Here! 
October 30 (10 am – 12 pm)
Register Here! 

Southern Region
September 4 (10 am – 12 pm)
Register Here!

East St. Louis
September 18 (1 – 3 pm)
Register Here! 

Mt. Vernon
October 16 (5 – 7 pm)
Register Here! 

Central Region
September 25, (10 am – 12 pm)
Register Here! 

October 9 (5 – 7 pm)
Register Here!

Northern Region
Lake Villa
October 2 (10 am – 12 pm)
Register Here! 

If you have any questions about meeting details, please contact Alex
Hylka at ICOY.
To stay up to date with IlliniCare provider orientation meetings and ICOY’s Medicaid managed care supports for providers, sign up for our email list here