3/13/20 – Message to Williams and Colbert Providers from Secretary Hou

Helping Families. Supporting Communities. Empowering Individuals.

Friday, March 13th, 2020


To all valued Colbert and Williams Providers:


The Department of Human Services continues to keep the best interest of not only Williams and Colbert Class

Members at the forefront of our concern, but also that of our valuable provider network. As a result, we are

forced to make difficult decisions on how best to protect Class Members and provider staff.


As we are sure you are all aware, the public health concerns surrounding COVID-19 have escalated

significantly over the last few days, with a recent announcement by the Illinois Department of Public Health

severely restricting visitor access to Nursing Facilities and/or SMHRFS in multiple areas around the State of

Illinois. As a result, the on-site Colbert and Williams services which are based in these facilities will be

temporarily suspended and provider staff will no longer be permitted to enter any Nursing Facility or SMHRF,

pending further notice. However, all community-based services to Class Members who have already

transitioned to the community should continue to be provided. We advise all providers to review and continue

to educate their staff on proper precautions which should be taken to minimize any potential spread of

infection, including, at a minimum, screening questions for both Class Members and provider staff prior to inperson

contact. Information may be found at the IDPH and CDC websites.



We urge you and your staff to remain in contact with your assigned Class Members via telephone or other

means and DHS will be exploring ways to support the use of technology for delivering services to Class

Members during this time. Please encourage Class Members to continue to work toward their transition goals,

in the hopes that they will be better prepared to continue to move towards transition.


With respect to current grant agreements and transition targets, we recognize that this unforeseen situation may

have a significant impact on budgets and transition targets, but the scope will not be able to be determined

until more is known. We will engage in discussions with each provider on appropriate adjustments once more

information is available and/or when in-person activities resume.


We also want you to know about the Illinois COVID-19 Hotline (1-800-889-3931) and dedicated email

account: dph.sick@illinois.gov.


Thank you,

Secretary Grace B. Hou