May 22, 2006

Dear Provider:

The Division of Mental Health (DMH) has made some revisions to Continuity of Care Agreement (COCA) for the FY-2007. This revised document is the product of several months work, and we are proud of the collaborative process that has been used to incorporate valuable stakeholder comment into this document. Our on-going discussions have resulted in further refinements, which are reflected in the final document now posted to our web site.

One feature of the new COCA is the requirement to document the need for all inpatient hospitalizations under an emergency psychiatric services (EPS) arrangement, through the use of the Universal Screening and Referral Form (USARF). While this is an important goal, our talks with stakeholder groups have made it apparent that different practices exist for some prescreening providers. If you are a pre-screening provider that already uses the USARF for EPS referrals, we thank you and request that you continue this practice. However, if you are a prescreening provider that would have difficulty meeting this requirement as of July 1, 2006, please contact your DMH Region Office to discuss a plan for evaluation of the level of EPS screening in your area, and your agency's ability to comply with and provide the USARF documentation for that level of activity. This plan can be submitted as an addendum to the signed COCA your agency submits to the Region Office, which will then have the effect of making the FY-2007 a transition year for your agency in your USARF documentation of EPS referrals.

For all providers, the new COCA can be downloaded from our website at: www.dhs.state.il.us/mhdd/mh/Notices, or you can contact your Region Office to request a copy via fax or regular mail. Please be aware that in addition to the usual declarations, signatures, and attachments, each provider is asked to identify their designated contact person for problem resolution purposes in Section X (page 11) of the document. We ask that the signed COCA (with addendum where needed), be delivered to your Region Office by the close of business on June 16, 2006. This will allow sufficient time for the Region Office to process the document and return a signed copy to the provider by July 1, 2006.

Once again, many thanks to all of the community partners that have contributed to the development of the FY-2007 Continuity of Care Agreement.

Sincerely,

Lorrie Rickman Jones, Ph.D. Director of Mental Health