The DDD Scoop Newsletter

Provider Payments

As you may know, there has been much activity around the issue of provider payments over the last few weeks, given the absence of a budget for the State. Late in the week of August 17, IDHS began forwarding to the Office of the Comptroller vouchers for DDD-funded, Medicaid community-based services. Also that week, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services began transmitting vouchers to the Office of the Comptroller for ICF/DD services. The voucher and payment processes continued through August 28, 2015, until the State was back on schedule through normal cycles. We are now moving Medicaid billings and claims forward through normal processes and time frames.

At the time of this writing, staff within various operational sections of IDHS are meeting to ensure processes are running as smoothly as possible and to enhance communication with the Office of the Comptroller. We would appreciate assistance in two ways:

  • If your organization is a provider of Community Integrated Living Arrangement (CILA) services and it has not received its July and August advance payments, please contact us at with your specific information.
  • If your organization is a provider of DDD Medicaid community-based services paid on a fee-for-services schedule (e.g., day programs, Home-Based Service Facilitation, etc.), and you have not received payment for services billed by your organization on or before August 18, please contact us at  with your specific information.

We sincerely thank all of the providers for their efforts and continued services during this time.

Collaboration with Division of Rehabilitation Services

On Monday, August 24, 2015, senior staff from the Division of Developmental Disabilities and Division of Rehabilitation Services met via videoconference to learn more about each other's programs and discuss ways in which the two divisions can collaborate. Several ideas arose from this initial meeting.

Central Office All-Staff Meeting

As a reminder, an all-staff meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 15, 2015. The meeting will be held at the IEA Professional Development Center at 3440 Liberty Drive in Springfield. Additional details will be forwarded shortly.

Employee of the Month Nominations - Central Office

The EAC (Employee Appreciation Committee) would like to introduce the New Employee of the Month program at the Division. Nomination forms will be available at each bureau's time sheet area as well as sent to every employee in an email. Anyone in the Central office can nominate their outstanding coworkers. Nominations will be accepted for the October employee of the month until September 25th. The committee will review these nominations and select the winner on the last working day of the month. The winner will receive the Director's parking space for a month, a certificate, recognition in the DDD Scoop, as well as a mug. All the monthly winners for the calendar year will be considered for the Employee of the Year award which will be $150.00 as well as other recognition. The first Employee of the Year will be selected in December of 2016 and include those winners from the remaining months in 2015. Please submit your nomination forms to Betty Elliott, Theresa Freitag-Cooley, Sherry Hinds, or Paul Morell.

Life Choices Initiative Update

Most of the six Life Choices Initiative Work Teams recommended some method of providing materials to support family members in gaining the knowledge and understanding they need to truly navigate this complicated service delivery system. As part of the Life Choices Initiative the development of effective family education materials are underway, especially now that several of the Initiatives recommendations are coming to be. The Division and the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities are dedicated to providing the most effective supports possible so that families/guardians clearly understand how to navigate the system in a smooth and successful manner. We want to make sure that families/guardians receive the information they need, and when they need it, so that they are prepared to make the best decisions for their sons/daughters, or in many cases brothers/sisters.

A team of people who are very gifted at using drawings and text to get across information in an easy-to-follow-manner along with family members and guardians who are Life Choices Initiative Team members will be working together on this project. We know that the only true experts in whether or not these will be meaningful and helpful are family members/guardians who would utilize them. Once we begin to develop the education materials for families additional information will be forthcoming.

Upcoming Employee Appreciation Event at Centrum

The DDD Central Office's Employee Appreciation Committee is holding the date of November 19, 2015, for a pre-Thanksgiving holiday luncheon. At this point, the date and plans are tentative. A follow-up email was sent to staff on September 2, 2015, in order to gauge interest. If you haven't yet responded, please provide your feedback to Paul Morell.

Supportive Housing Institute Update

Here are this year's dates for those interested in creating the additional option of Supportive Housing for those persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. A giant finale is scheduled for November 18, 2015, when all groups come and speak to members of state government about what they can create and how the state can partner with them to take advantage of new and existing housing finance resources:

  • The Supportive Housing Institute - September 10 & 11, 2015; October 14 & 15, 2015; and November 17 & 18, 2015.
  • CSH (Corporation for Supportive Housing) is interested in providing technical assistance and training opportunities to agencies interested in offering supportive housing for participants. This could involve owning property or acting as a service partner without owning property in order to support adults with IDD who wish to live in their own home, with or without a roommate. With federal resources available to create new affordable housing opportunities for adults with disabilities and very low income across the state, providers may wish to explore how to partner with developers and or landlords to expand housing options for self-advocates. If your agency is considering this type of expansion, please contact CSH to schedule a technical assistance or training session.
  • The Family Seminars - Forming an Effective Local Community Housing Collaboration - 2 choices - [October 7 & 8, 2015, Northbrook] or [October 19 and 20, 2015, Springfield] with Jennifer Knapp and CSH with a finale in Springfield on November 18, 2015.

    This focuses on family and other loved ones learning about service and housing options and creating the political push in their local communities to demand and create new and additional housing options in your local community. This training looks at public private partnerships, public financing and the needs of the local community to make sure that a person with a developmental or intellectual disability has the option of living in their home community in regular housing by themselves or with a roommate (with or without a disability) and that housing is available along with the required support services if and when it is needed.

  • Family Supportive Housing Seminar RSVP Link:
  • Self-Advocates Seminar - 2 choices- [October 27, 2015, Chicago] or [November 2, 2015 Springfield as a pre-conference session at Speak Up Speak Out Annual Conference] followed by a November 18, 2015, grand finale in Springfield.

    This is an opportunity for Self-Advocates to learn about the option of Supportive Housing and how and when to request it if this is an option they would like. It is about creating another option where a person selects their housing before their service provider. It is a philosophy and a civil right supported by the Olmstead and Ligas court cases which is being offered now to persons with other disabilities. This training is about how and when it is right to also offer this option to persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

  • Self-Advocate Supportive Housing Seminar RSVP Link:

For additional information regarding the above activities, please contact Stephanie Sideman at, 312-332-6690, ext. 25.

SODC Operations News

  1. General

    Each year the Department is required to conduct an annual inventory of all commodities at all facilities including Division of Developmental Disabilities, Mental Health, Rehabilitation Services and Business Services. The DD Division had a total dollar value of $1.5 Million in commodities as of June 30, 2015, and this year the Division only had to make a total adjustment of $5,200 which represents only a .36% adjustment.

    This is the best annual percentage since SODC Operations started keeping records. This effort was led by the Choate center which for years has been plagued with large discrepancies. This year with the extreme effort put forth by all involved staff at the Choate Center, they were able to reduce their adjustment to only a 1 percent figure. We would like to thank those involved for the great job performance this year.

  2. Choate Center

    In addition to the achievements on improving the commodity inventory, Choate is pleased to host two Southern Illinois University social work students. The students started on August 25 and are currently in training. Both will be on campus until May 2016.

  3. Fox Center

    • The Center had its annual Illinois Department of Public Health survey and did very well, receiving only four standard level tags. The surveyors had nothing but praise for the staff and the outstanding job they do - especially on the living areas.
    • Harvest Days, a community festival in Dwight, will be held September 17-20, 2015. Fox Center will have a float entered in the parade as in previous years. Individuals decorate and ride on the float.
    • The winners of the Fox Center Employee of the Month parking places for September are Kourtney Smith, Mental Health Technician Trainee, and Sharon Larson, Support Service Worker. They were chosen for not calling in during a preceding month. They will have reserved front row parking places for the month of September.
  4. Kiley Center

    Two individuals were discharged from Kiley to Community Integrated Living Arrangements operated by UCP Seguin Services of Greater Chicago. For one of the individuals, the move will enable him to have increased family involvement.

  5. Ludeman Center

    • Ludeman will be offering a free seminar on Financial Awareness. Topics that will be discussed include spending (living within your means), budgeting, saving and planning for the present and future. With the State being in its current fiscal crisis and the Ludeman Center aggressively addressing its high overtime numbers, management felt it necessary that staff receive help in budgeting without overtime dollars in their current salaries.
    • Twenty individuals will be attending the Frankfort Fall Fest and Carnival on September 4, 2015, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Frankfort Firefighters Foundation donated 20 unlimited (participation) bands to the Center. September 4, 2015 has been designated as "Special Needs Day." Kudos to Frankfort Firefighters Foundation.
    • Ludeman will host Open Forums on September 10 and 11. Topics that will be discussed are: Ludeman Accomplishments/Plans/Goals; SODC Operational System Changes; Overtime Reduction Targets and Schedule Changes; and Public Health Survey Update.
  6. Mabley Center

    • Erin Wade spent three days at Murray Center to train the psychology staff and Ted Dunphy trained Murray staff on psychotropic medications via teleconference.
    • Eli Townsend, Mental Health Tech Trainee has been recognized for going Above and Beyond. He was assigned to a newly admitted individual and did a wonderful job with him.
    • Individuals will be going for home visits this weekend over Labor Day to see their loved ones with the support of Mabley staff.
  7. Murray Center

    Maintenance and Engineering staff were acknowledged for their hard work repairing a ruptured steam line over the weekend of August 22-23.

  8. Shapiro Center

    The Employee Incentive Committee is hosting its Annual Employee Appreciation Cook Out on September 18.

Central Office Staff Training

On Tuesday, September 1, 2015, central office staff attended an all-day training session. After I gave opening remarks, Mary Spriggs Ploessl, Life Choices Initiative Coordinator, presented an overview of the Life Choices Initiative. This was followed by a presentation on System Change by Mary Lou Bourne, a national consultant and facilitator for the Life Choices Initiative. The focus was on basic discussion of system change; difference between Person-Centered "Planning" and Person-Centered System"; how positive and negative pressure influences the system; and resistance to change as a diagnostic symptom, not a side effect. We felt that this training was extremely important, especially now as systems change efforts are underway. We recognize that change is difficult for many of us. I believe it was Mark Twain who once said, "The only person who likes change is a baby with a wet diaper."

We also felt that it was important for staff to hear that none of the changes presently being considered should be viewed as a negative reflection on practices or services offered in the past.

I believe the presenter made this point eloquently by referencing a quote by Maya Angelou, "I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better."

Practices, services and philosophies in our field have changed dramatically over the years. Frankly, I have difficulty reflecting back on some of the things we did during the early portion of my career.

However, I accept that we did the best with what we knew at the time. Now that we know more, we'll do better.

Have a great holiday!