The DDD Scoop (7-10-15)

Helping Families. Supporting Communities. Empowering Individuals.

The DDD Scoop NewsletterFollowing our last issue, I received an email from the executive director of one of our Independent Service Coordinator agencies. As he read various acknowledgments of events in our employees' lives, he thought about efforts made by his employees to recognize significant events in the lives of the people and families served by his agency. They developed a moonlight bowling event to raise money for their Individual and Family Fund, and through the efforts of an employee's spouse who was a local firefighter, the local firefighter's union now adopts a couple of the agency's families. This eventually grew to 13 families and another effort by staff has developed into a relationship with a local congregation which donates 85 food baskets during the holidays for use by families served by the agency. He offered this not to brag but to encourage DDD personnel to commit a random act of kindness outside the Division each day because the world needs more positive acts rather than cynicism.

As you read through this issue of the DDD Scoop, please pay attention to the training opportunities related to polypharmacy and supportive housing. You will also notice a variety of efforts currently underway including a couple projects on which staff will be working with our Management Information Systems (MIS) team led by the Department's new Chief Information Officer, Brad Long. Brad worked with Secretary-designate Dimas during the early days of Illinois Department of Human Services as a member of the Governor's Task Force on Health and Human Services. Our staff is excited about the opportunities to work with him and his team to develop these new reporting systems.

The DDD Scoop Logo

In our previous issue, we announced the new name for our newsletter. With this issue, we unveil our new look with The DDD Scoop logo. A huge thank you goes to Veronica Vera, IDHS Acting Director-Communications and Dru Fernandes from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information for their creative design efforts!

24-Hour Stabilization Update and Meeting Announcement

As previously announced, a Request for Applications (RFA) has been posted for the 24-Hour Stabilization Services. Individuals who are considering submitting a proposal or who wish to learn more about the proposed services are invited to attend a meeting on July 21, 2015 from 11:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. in the Second Floor Large Conference Room of the Centrum North Building in Springfield. The building is located on the corner of 4th and Madison Streets with an address of 401 N. 4th Street. A call-in number is also available. Call: 1-888-494-4032#, Passcode: 187-931-0092#. Staff will be available to provide an overview and answer programmatic questions about the procurement. The meeting is optional-potential vendors are not required to attend.

The RFA can be viewed at A summary of the meeting will be posted at the link for the RFA as soon as possible following the meeting. Reminder: applications must be received by 2:00 p.m. on July 31, 2015 at the location provided in the RFA.

Children's Waiver Renewals

Staff continue to work with the Department of Healthcare and Family Services to submit renewal requests to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for the two children's waivers. The public comment period on the two draft applications ended on June 28, 2015. Staff must summarize the comments and prepare responses to be included in the final applications. The final applications should be submitted by the end of July and will be posted on the Division's website at that time. These two waivers provide federal matching funds for the Children's Home-Based Support Services Program and the Children's Group Homes.

Provider Database Development

One of the team recommendations of the Life Choices Project is that the Division should create a database of providers that would record available service capacity by geographic area and their willingness to develop new service capacity. In response to this recommendation, Division staff has developed and submitted to the Department of Human Services Management Information Services (MIS) section a request to create this database for the website. Under this proposal, providers would have the ability to enter their own basic information regarding program vacancies and future development plans. We will be reaching out to consumer, provider, and ISC representatives to help us with the design of the database. Our goal is to keep the entry and viewing screens as simple as possible for everyone.

Customized Employment Pilot Project

In an effort to provide a continuum of services for those who have been providing customized employment and for full transparency of the program, we are giving the current participating providers the opportunity to present a close out and an application for continuing services. A determination will be made on those providers. And we will have a Request for Application (RFA) to follow for FY 2016.

The providers were asked to:

  1. Sign and return contracts for customized employment issued by DDD
  2. Submit fiscal year-end reports on the project (November 7, 2014- June 30,2015)
  3. Submit a proposal providing reasons they should be selected to continue the project in FY 2016.

All requested information was due on July 6, 2015. Each provider entry will be reviewed independently. A final independent determination will be made for continuation in the pilot project.

25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

This important milestone will be celebrated on July 21, 2015 at the James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph Street, Chicago, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Events include an employment fair and resource tables that will provide information to the disability community.

Modifications to the Reporting of Community Services (ROCS) System

Division of Developmental Disabilities staff continue to work with the Department's Management Information Systems (MIS) staff on modifications to the ROCS System to accommodate a transition from the currently used ICD9 codes to the federally required ICD10 codes. IDC9 Codes will continue to be maintained by the system for all current case openings. Once the changes are put in place, ICD10 codes will be required for all new case opening submissions. The target deadline for full implementation is October 1, 2015.

Next steps and estimated time frames are as follows for implementation:

  • The new system will be pilot tested by three providers that utilize ROCS software for data submission. The testing is expected to occur in July.
  • Third party software developers will need to make modifications to the .ftp file submitted to ROCS. The specifications necessary for the .ftp file submission will be posted on the internet on July 13, 2015, for providers to view and use. The file will be posted at the following location:
  • MIS will accept a test file from providers using third party software to ensure the file specifications have been accurately modified to match the new submission criteria. It is hoped MIS will be ready to accept a test file for a set period of time beginning in August. Providers will be informed of the specific time frame in which a test file will be accepted.
  • The Division will host a webinar training for community providers in September. MIS staff will provide instruction and demonstrations outlining the changes made to the ROCS system and third party software submissions. In addition, Dr. Tracy Aldridge will provide an overview, from the medical community perspective, of the conversion from ICD 9 codes to ICD 10 codes. Please look to future correspondence for the specific date and time of this webinar.

State-Operated Developmental Centers

Illinois Department of Public Health recently completed its annual survey at the Murray Center. Murray received 13 standard level tags, and will be submitting its plan of correction within the next week.

Choate Center experienced failure of Turbine #3 in its power plant. An outside vendor is looking for a replacement part and assembling a repair team to deploy to the campus. The emergency diesel powered generator was started and all buildings have electricity.

Debbie Niemann joined SODC Operations as an Administrative Assistant I for Region I effective July 1. Debbie has spent the past 24 years in a variety of positions in state government, primarily at the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and its predecessor the Office of Banks and Real Estate. For the past six months, she has worked as an Administrative Assistant in Quality Enhancement at the Elisabeth Ludeman Center. Debbie has strong experience in office administration as well as policy drafting and implementation. She will be located at the Ludeman Center.

Murray Center has organized an Employee Recognition Committee and plans to recognize employee who do an excellent job going above and beyond. The Committee selected Tom Tate as its Employee of the Month for June. Tom was honored for his efforts in organizing and coordinating the Murray Parents Association Night at Busch Stadium for the residents and staff.

Upcoming Employee Recognition Activities - Centrum Building

The Employee Appreciation Committee will begin to celebrate birthdays on a quarterly basis, by having a huge potluck. The committee will furnish the main course (for example chicken, Italian beef, mostaccioli, etc.) as well as all the necessary paper products. Anyone who wants to participate is welcome but expected to contribute by bringing a side dish/dessert or $5.00. This celebration will be held in the 2nd month of the quarter and will be on the 2nd Wednesday. The first potluck will be held on August 12th from 11:30-1:30 to celebrate all those employees born in July, August, and September. We would love to have everyone participate and enjoy this time together! More details will be coming later.

Upcoming Training Opportunity on Polypharmacy

The Illinois Crisis Prevention Network (ICPN) is offering a three-hour training on "Polypharmacy, Adverse Effects and the Importance of Tapering Medications" on Wednesday, July 29, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. This training is available in Carterville only.  This training will educate staff on relevant information regarding the structure, binding affinity and tolerability of psychotropic medications. The training is free of charge and CE's are available. The Registration deadline is July 24, 2015. Register online at For additional information contact Anna Vvanti, Statewide Training Coordinator for ICPN, at 815-670-1983.

What's Your Number?

Just a reminder…All Division employees should be using a "signature block" for all outgoing emails. The signature block is intended to ease the ability for others to get in touch with us. At a minimum, the signature block should include your telephone number. If you haven't yet created your signature block, please do so as soon as possible. For detailed instructions on how to create a signature block and other email tips, please refer to Greg Fenton's June 11, 2015 email.

Travel Reminder

The DHS Travel Coordinator recently advised all employees that the Governor's Travel Board has approved the use of personal vehicles in the event no pool car is available, provided the employee only seeks personal mileage reimbursement in an amount up to, but NOT exceeding, $32.00 (which is the value of the rental amount for a compact vehicle from Enterprise). This is in lieu of utilizing Enterprise and employees choosing to use this option may not submit receipts for fuel reimbursement.

Regional HCBS Leadership Summit 2015

The Regional Home and Community Based Services Leadership Summit (held in Chicago on June 18-19, 2015) was a productive meeting of Region V states (Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Minnesota). Each state had representatives of state Medicaid and I/DD services funders and providers. Region V CMS staff were also in attendance as listeners. The annual summit began four years ago as states prepared for the proposed changes in the HCBS rule. As federal CMS rolled out the new rule in March 2014 and gave direction to states to write their transition plans, Region V provider associations felt that continuing the conversation would be helpful as each state formulated its plan. From Illinois, Reta Hoskin, Associate Director, Mary Spriggs Plossel, Life Choices Initiative Statewide Coordinator from DHS' Division of Developmental Disabilities, Paul Bennett, Senior Public Policy Administrator from the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, along with I/DD providers, ISC representative, and IARF staff members were part of the discussion on transition plans.

American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) Senior Director of Government Relations, Esmé Grant Grewal, opened the summit with an overview of the state transition plans. She stressed to all attendees that CMS has not approved a state transition plan, but hoped to begin sending out approval letters in late June. In her opinion, CMS will be looking for evidence of rigorous oversight and prudent management of the transition plan. CMS will be delving into details in each plan and asking for further clarification if it feels a crucial portion of the process requires more explanation beyond what the state has given.

Esme Grewal's remarks set up the rest of the summit as each of the Region V states presented its implementation plans as well as the opportunities and challenges that lay ahead. Joshua Evans, IARF, presented Illinois' perspective:

  • The plan calls for a shift away from compliance towards person-centeredness, using this opportunity to push the system towards more flexibility.
  • The high compliance rate in the survey results: 95% residential settings, 92% non-residential settings.
  • The plan does not explicitly identify ways it can continue ongoing compliance with existing monitoring bodies - which would add another layer of compliance, become burdensome for providers, and further stress state resources.
  • Tension exists for available resources - will (or can) the state work with providers to implement the plan and remain in compliance within the current cost structure.

Reta Hoskin and Paul Bennett followed Joshua Evans' presentation with thoughts on projects Illinois is currently working on that will dovetail nicely with the requirements of the transition plan and rule (e.g., Innovative-Flexible Day Services Workgroup, Life Choices Initiative, Employment First Project under the BIP, and Ligas Transitions Plans).

While some states were working with more resources than others, all were in agreement that in order to transition to a true person-centered service delivery system, compliance with the new rule may take longer than four years. All Region V states were hopeful that working with CMS to extend this timeframe in order to achieve sustainable and lasting change would be feasible.

Training Opportunity - How to Create Housing in Your Community!

Supportive Housing for Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD)

The Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) is pleased to announce its 2015 training seminars geared towards self-advocates, families, community champions, and development teams including developers and service providers. It will host a webinar twice on July 14th to review all of the upcoming training sessions available to you. Click here to register for the July 14th webinar at 12:30 p.m. Password Illinois. Click here to register for the July 14th webinar at 7:00 p.m. Password: Illinois.

For Self-Advocates - CSH will host two training sessions, one in Chicago and one in Springfield, for people who are interested in living in their own home with an appropriate array of supportive services and peers interested in learning more about supportive housing. These highly interactive sessions will include homework assignments on recruiting additional self-advocates to discuss supportive housing with peers and learning more about what housing and support interests are represented in their home town. Sessions will take place in late September, and will include self-advocates as lead trainers. Please e-mail for more information.

For Families and Community Champions - In order to invest in the driving force of change within the IDD community, CSH plans to offer training sessions in September for family members who would like to learn more about supportive housing and how to influence policy changes that will create new housing solutions. Recognizing that family members and self-advocates know best about what is needed for adults to live successfully in their own apartment in the community, we wish to arm family members with knowledge about financing supportive housing, coordinating services, and key policy changes needed to bring supportive housing to scale in your local community. This is about understanding and insisting upon real action and change in your own local community. For more information, please e-mail

For Developers and Service Providers - CSH: The Source for Housing Solutions, in partnership with the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities (ICDD), is excited to announce the 2015 Supportive Housing Institute in Joliet and Springfield. The 2015 Supportive Housing Institute will focus on the creation of integrated housing settings that meet the needs of adults with intellectual & developmental disabilities. This series will help development teams learn how to navigate the complex process of developing housing with support services and this training series is expected to reduce the time it takes to obtain funding by improving the planning and application process. Consideration will be given to integrated housing with up to 25% of the housing set aside for supportive housing and small scale multi-family apartments.

The 2015 Institute provides targeted training and technical assistance to both new and experienced development teams. Teams receive over 50 hours of training including individualized technical assistance and resources to assist in completing their project. In addition, experts from across the state, including staff and national partners provide insight on property management, financing, and building design. Special emphasis will be given to accessing Section 811 and the Statewide Referral Network.

Annual Rally of The Alliance

Finally, I am pleased to report that I attended The Alliance's annual rally on Wednesday, July 8, 2015, in Bloomington where 105 self-advocates and advisors/allies gathered. Self-advocates came from around Illinois, representing the following self-advocacy groups: Advocates in Motion (AIM), Macon Resources' Community Awareness Possibilities Support (CAPS), Change to Independence Altogether (CIA), Charleston Transitional Facility's (CTF) Advocacy Center in Charleston, CTF Tigers in Homewood, Livingston County Advocates in Action, The Network, Personal Power Players, Ray of Hope Self Advocates (ROHSA), Self-Advocates of Lake County, Sertoma United, and Vocational Voices. The annual rally was a time to teach and learn about The Alliance's Community Access Campaign activities; the Division of Developmental Disabilities' Life Choices Initiative by Mary Spriggs Ploessl, Statewide Coordinator for Life Choices Initiative; and to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act.

I was honored to be asked to say a few words, and I conveyed the Division's commitment to partner with them and other stakeholders to design a person-centered service delivery system in Illinois. There is no question that the advocacy of the above named groups has led to better health, better job opportunities, and increased opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to control their lives.

I shared with the group that early in my career I was discouraged from accepting a job offer as a Qualified Intellectual Disabilities Professional (QIDP) because the position required a lot of writing and that wasn't a strength of mine. After careful consideration, I decided to accept the QIDP position. Despite a few rough patches initially, I eventually succeeded in that role, which eventually led to other promotional opportunities. From that experience, I learned important lessons about the power of our belief systems. First, whatever we believe about ourselves with feeling becomes our reality. I now know that most of the self-limiting beliefs we have about ourselves (I'm not smart enough, strong enough, tall enough, organized enough, etc.) are not based in reality. Second, never accept anyone else's beliefs about who you are, what you can become, and what your life can be.

I ended my remarks with my most favorite quote from Eleanor Roosevelt.

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent".

Have a great weekend!