The DDD Scoop (6-26-15)

Helping Families. Supporting Communities. Empowering Individuals.

A New Name

Welcome to the latest edition of our Communication Bulletin. Last issue, we asked you to submit your ideas for a new name for our Communication Bulletin. We received 102 suggestions and were able to pare that initial list down to 14 choices. All 14 entries were put in a basket and the winning name was drawn from the basket. From this day forward, the Communication Bulletin will be referred to as The DDD Scoop. Belinda Hunt, a Nurse Specialist in the Bureau of Quality Review has won the prize of $25.00 for her suggestion. Belinda works out of the Ludeman Developmental Center, and was thrilled and surprised after being informed she was the winner. Congratulations to Belinda - and a huge thank you to everyone who submitted an entry!

Workgroups to Increase Choice Options

Since our last issue, I've had an opportunity to enjoy some vacation time and spend quality time with family. I urge you all to make time to unwind and recharge your batteries given the day-to-day demands that each of us doubtless face. I don't believe that we can consistently perform at our best if we don't take time to "sharpen the saw" - which Stephen Covey (The 7 Habits of Highly effective People) argues is necessary to renew our energy and keep us balanced. Prior to going on vacation and shortly after my return, I had opportunities to talk with a number of service providers about our priority areas of focus and my desire to establish workgroups to look at flexible day services and our rate structure. I have been encouraged by the willingness on the part of so many stakeholders to partner with us to develop strategies that will increase opportunities for individuals to choose service alternatives that best meet their needs.

Importantly, I've learned that many of the workgroup initiatives currently under consideration were explored under previous administrations. Notwithstanding that fact, I have been impressed with the willingness on the part of so many concerned and committed persons to share recommendations from previous workgroups so that we don't waste valuable time trying to reinvent the wheel.

Payment for Services Beyond June 30th

The following communication from Secretary Dimas provides guidance regarding authorized services beyond June 30th:

"The purpose of this communication is to convey some information and clarification regarding payments for services beyond June 30th if no budget is signed.

As you are aware, no budget has been enacted for Fiscal Year 2016 because the budget bill passed by the General Assembly is out of balance by approximately $4 billion. There is a great deal of uncertainty as to both when, and at what amount, funds will be made available for the coming fiscal year.

Thank you for your continued service in the face of this uncertainty. We all appreciate that providers such as yourself make important services available to clients that might not otherwise receive them and we would like to see our partnership with you continue.

I must ask you today to continue providing these services as we navigate through these trying times. You will be compensated for continuing to provide these services, though we cannot make payment for services performed after June 30th until a balanced budget is passed.

The services this letter refers to include Early Intervention, Child Care (vouchered and certificate), Home Services, DD Waiver Services, Medicaid Services and Vocational Rehabilitation.

We are all grateful to you for the work that you have done and continue to do, and I personally thank you for your patience and understanding."

James T. Dimas, Secretary

Priority Area of Focus

  1. Improving Employee Morale and Expanding Employee Recognition

    In the last edition, we began a discussion on the first of seven areas of focus for the Division. In this issue, I would like to spend a few minutes sharing our plans to improve employee morale and to expand employee recognition. Every Sunday, a column entitled "Corner Office" appears in the New York Times Business Section. This column features a half-page interview with an executive and focuses on leadership, early influences and hiring/interview objectives. In the June 14, 2015 interview, R. Donahue Peebles, Chief Executive of the Peebles Corporation (a real estate development company) was asked what insights on leadership he has learned in his career. In part, his response was: "For many years [I] thought the best reward I could give to anyone working in our company was money, whether it was a bonus or a promotion. But I've learned that encouragement and acknowledgement are sometimes more important than dollars." I agree with Mr. Peebles and there is plenty of literature that supports his thinking. In fact, studies have shown that on lists compiled of "employee motivators," money rarely shows up on any list higher than three or four. Challenging work assignments, flexible work schedules and recognition for a job well done are consistently ranked higher than money. As such, it is imperative that we make time to recognize staff for their many accomplishments and contributions. In times of budget constraints and staff shortages, it can be especially important to provide recognition and opportunities for staff to participate in activities that foster a sense of team building and shared commitment.

    The Division recently formed an Employee Appreciation Committee in Central Office, which is chaired by Dr. Bronwyn Rains. The committee has held two meetings and was responsible for organizing a pot luck luncheon to recognize the June retirements of two employees. The Committee discussed setting parameters for events it might want to acknowledge and ways in which to raise money while staying within the DHS Administrative Directive on this issue. Examples of events that might deserve recognition included the death of a family member or birth/adoption of a new child. A fundraising subcommittee has been formed with Pam Baker, Pamela Manning, Gina Tinsley, Paul Morell and Jenny Spraggs serving as members. The Committee is also interested in having a "suggestion box." Pam Baker has agreed to take the lead to investigate whether or not a generic email address can be used to collect suggestions.

  2. Ice Cream Social Event

    The Employee Appreciation Committee in Central Office is hosting an Ice Cream Social on June 30, 2015 from 2:45 to 3:15 in the Atrium of the Centrum Building. The Committee will be providing ice cream with an array of toppings in order to encourage staff to fix themselves a frozen treat and relax with their fellow co-workers.

  3. Appointment of New Ligas Court Monitor

    On Wednesday, June 24, 2015, Ms. Ronnie Cohn was appointed the new Court Monitor for the Ligas Consent Decree. She replaces Tony Records, who had previously announced his intent to retire in 2015. Ronnie's appointment takes effect July 1, and she will be working closely with Tony over the next couple months in order to ensure a smooth transition. We look forward to working with her on Ligas issues.

  4. Provider Expos

    Provider Expos give individuals, guardians, family members and State Operated Developmental Center staff an opportunity to learn about specific community-based services and the location of such services. Providers who attend the Expos bring pictures and details about the services they are able to offer. The Bureau of Transitional Services coordinates these expos and works with center staff and local providers. An expo was scheduled at the Mabley Center in Dixon on June 24, and on July 7, an expo will be held at the Kiley Center in Waukegan.

  5. State-Operated Developmental Systems

    The Illinois Department of Public Health has just completed its annual survey at the Ludeman Center. The Center received standard level tags, and is preparing a plan of correction. Murray Center is in the midst of their annual survey, and we should have more to report in the next newsletter.

    The Carmen Dotson Above and Beyond the Call award winter for May was Kevin Backs at the Murray Center. Kevin, along with several co-workers, was nominated for his help in deep cleaning the Grape Unit. The work included taking the vents down to clean them. Murray Center leadership truly appreciates the care and initiative that was displayed.

  6. Training News

    For the past several months, Quality Enhancement staff worked closely with Elsevier, the parent company of the College of Direct Support, to review its online curriculum as a Division-approved Direct Support Person (DSP) classroom training program option. This online training was originally approved for use in 2008 and is currently used by four Illinois providers of developmental disabilities services. This renewal will expire July 1, 2017. For more information, contact John Knight at

    The Division completed its annual required Ethics Training period on June 11. Final compliance reports have not yet been completed.

  7. Information Bulletins

    The Division recently posted an Information Bulletin on changes to the personal needs allowance in effect for community settings, and we have already started receiving expressions of disappointment about this communication. We welcome your comments and plan to seriously examine all feedback we receive.

    Other new Information Bulletins were recently posted. They were:

    • Reminder of Available Funding for Home/Vehicle Modifications and Equipment Technology
    • Ligas Transition Service Plan - Quality Review Tool
    • Clarification of DSP Hours for Family and Intermittent CILAs.
  8. Special Olympics Illinois

    Special Olympics Illinois offers year round sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities in 19 different sports at no cost to the athlete or their families. The organization also offers a Young Athletes program consisting of sports related developmental play for 2-7 year olds, Healthy Athlete program, Unified Sports program where Special Olympics athletes compete alongside their peers without intellectual disabilities and Project Unify program which is a school based curriculum that centers on inclusion and acceptance. In general, athletes compete with local schools, park/special recreation programs, social service agencies, or with the help of Special Olympics, can start their own agency. Special Olympics programs transform lives by enhancing physical fitness, motor skills, self-confidence, social skills and encouraging family support. There are more than 40,000 athletes and Young Athletes who compete in Illinois and are part of an international program that serves more than 4.4 million athletes in 170 countries. To learn more about these opportunities, contact Anne Carroll, Vice President, Area Management, Special Olympics Illinois at

  9. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Site Visit

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has confirmed the dates for their Money Follows the Person (MFP) Site Visit to Illinois. CMS staff will be in Illinois for 2-1/2 days, starting the morning of July 20. The Division is working on arrangements for CMS staff to visit MFP participants who have transitioned to the community and will be visiting residences in DuPage County. More details will be forthcoming as the dates approach.

  10. On the Move

    Mary Baird has announced her retirement from the Bureau of Transitional Services effective June 30. She has worked for the State for 20 years, and came to Central Office in 2007 with the inception of the Bureau of Transitional Services. She played a significant role in monitoring over 100 of the individuals who transitioned from Howe Developmental Center during the closure of that Center. Currently, Mary is assigned as the Division's liaison for the Department of Children and Family Services. In this role, she assists youth with an intellectual/developmental disability who have DCFS as their guardian, secure adult community services. Mary is also the Division's liaison for the Money Follows the Person program monitored by Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) and the University of Chicago (UIC). Mary has been much appreciated for her writing skills and has been a tremendous asset in writing and editing many documents from flow charts and interagency agreements to letters and procedures. Words to describe Mary include: organized, detailed, accurate, efficient, timely, focused and dependable, to name a few. Besides all that, Mary is to be commended for her work ethic, drive and willingness to get the job done. In her retirement, Mary is looking forward to spending more time with her grandchildren in the Chicago area and in Florida. We wish her well as the doors of the future begin to open.

Have a great weekend!