The DDD Scoop (10-2-15)

Helping Families. Supporting Communities. Empowering Individuals.

The DDD Scoop Newsletter

Welcome to the latest issue of the DDD Scoop. So much has happened since our last issue that I hardly know where to begin.

Management Development Training Events

I am pleased to announce that we have expanded our management development program to include staff in our Central Office who are in leadership positions. As the "baby boomers" come of age, we know that increasing numbers of staff will be retiring from state service. As such, we are committed to succession planning, which includes developing tomorrow's leaders and developing skill sets that will enable staff to deal with our current and future needs.

The intent of the Management Development Program is to give staff tools they will need to be effective leaders. Staff at the State-Operated Developmental Centers are about to begin the second phase of a management development program. With the help of Dr. Bronwyn Rains and staff from our agency's Bureau of Training and Support Services, under the leadership of Bureau Chief John Smith, we are beginning the first phase of the management development program for our Central office and senior staff.

A "kick off" meeting was held yesterday (October 1st) for Central office and senior staff. At the meeting, all participants were informed of the future rollout courses, along with a review of the entire program and expected outcomes.

The expected outcomes include overall positive change in the workplace, improved customer outcomes, and improved stakeholder relationships. It is our hope that participation in this program will allow us to strengthen our existing leadership team and identify our future leaders.

In addition, on September 15, the Division held an all-day change management training event for Senior Staff and all Central Office employees. At the conclusion of the event, certificates were handed out to employees who had reached certain service milestones. John Knight, Quality Enhancement Section Manager and Sandy Bancroft, Quality Enhancement Specialist, were recognized for attaining 40 years of service. Congratulations to John, Sandy and all our employees for their tireless dedication! (Pictured below left to right: Reta Hoskin, Associate Director, John Knight, Sandy Bancroft, and me.)

Employee Recognition Receivers

The Division said good-bye to Mary Spriggs-Ploessl earlier this week. As many of you know, Mary has accepted a new position with the Division of Family and Community Services. For more than thirty-five years, Mary has served the Division of Developmental Disabilities with energy and passion, most recently in her role as Statewide Coordinator for the Life Choices Initiative. We will sorely miss Mary, but are grateful that she is remaining within the Illinois Department of Human Services family.

Centrum Employee of the Month

The Central Office Employee Appreciation Committee has selected its first-ever employee of the month from several nominated candidates. Diane Garbin, a Management Operations Analyst in the CILA Rates Unit, was nominated for her willingness to work on and assist on projects outside her day to day responsibilities, her initiative, and her prompt and courteous responses to providers. Diane will receive the use of the Director's assigned parking space for the month of October, a certificate and a coffee mug filled with goodies. Congratulations to Diane!

DDD Employee of the Month, Diane Garbin

As previously reported, the two Developmental Disabilities Medicaid Waivers that serve children and adolescents, the Children's Supports Waiver and the Children's Residential Waiver, are in the renewal process with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The renewal applications were previously published for public comment and are still available on our web site at . On September 24, 2015 representatives from the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS), the Division, and CMS held a conference call to discuss initial comments and questions following CMS's review of the applications. CMS will be sending Illinois its questions and comments in a written document referred to as a Request for Additional Information. We will share that document by posting it on our website when it is received. As the State works on the requested information, bi-weekly phone calls will be held with CMS to ensure positive progress continues.

Public Hearing Notice - Budgeting for Results

A "Budgeting for Results" Annual Public Hearing is scheduled in the Chicago area on Thursday, October 8, 2015 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. This is an opportunity for our providers, grantees, stakeholders, advocates, and employees to learn more about the role of performance in state budgeting and to provide feedback to the Budgeting for Results Commission.

The meeting can be attended in person or by telephone. The meeting will be held at the James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph Street in Suite 9-040. The call-in number is 888-806-4788. The Passcode Number is 8956851121.

Additional information is available at BUDGET.ILLINOIS.GOV.

24-Hour Stabilization Project

The Division received four proposals in response to the Request for Applications for the 24-Hour Stabilization Project. You will recall this project includes the development of four, four-person homes to assist individuals on a short-term basis who require assistance in crisis situations. The potential vendors submitting proposals are Active Visions, Envision, Rimland, and Southwest Services and Supports. We appreciate the efforts of these providers in moving this state of our crisis services forward. The Division is now reviewing the proposals.

It's All About Choice

On Tuesday, September 29th, the Division Leadership met with all Independent Support Coordination (ISC) agencies, as well as trade representatives, to discuss possibilities for offering individuals and their families and guardians options in selecting an ISC agency for ISSA services. Discussion points, printed below, were developed and shared with the ISC agencies and trade representatives prior to the meeting. Although some operational concerns were raised during the meeting, the majority of participants were supported of this policy objective. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that a number of ISC Agencies were already offering this option on an informal basis. We will keep you posted on the outcomes of these discussions.



Discussion Points

The Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) is exploring the possibility of establishing a policy and corresponding procedures for selection of ISC agencies in the Individual Service and Support Advocacy (ISSA) program.

At this point in time, the proposal applies only to ISSA, not the PUNS waiting list intake, Bogard Independent Service Coordination (ISC), or Pre-Admission Screening (PAS) services.

This is not an entitlement, it is a philosophy. We cannot ensure every person in the Waiver will be given a choice of ISSA. But, where possible we want to offer options.

Geographic boundaries currently assigned to the ISC agencies would stay the same.

ISSA agencies may refuse to accept additional individuals outside of their assigned boundaries. The geographically assigned agency cannot refuse to deliver services within its assigned boundary.

Individuals and guardians will be informed of the ability to choose another ISSA through the following:

  • A statement on the Rights form (DDD will need to amend the current form),
  • A statement on the DDD website,
  • A statement in the DD Waiver Manual, and
  • An Information Bulletin issued and posted on the website.

DDD will review language in Attachment A of the Community Services Agreement to ensure the option of selected an ISC agency outside of the typical geographic boundary is addressed.

Providers may not direct or influence individuals to change to another ISC agency.

DDD will not increase ISSA hours to cover additional transportation time.

Should ISC agencies decide to serve individuals from other geographic areas, they must have an adequate number of Qualified Intellectual Disabilities Professionals (QIDPs) to deliver all the required and needed services.

Individuals and guardians do not have to state a reason for deciding to choose another ISC agency for ISSA services.

The DDD will not authorize additional hours above the 25 hour maximum for ISSA services solely for the ability to choose another ISC agency; however, it will consider the need for additional hours due to the individual's circumstances.

Neither ISC agencies, nor individuals and guardians, need to notify the DDD of a decision to select another ISC agency. Nor do they need to seek prior approval. The DDD will know which ISC agency is serving an individual through the billings received for ISSA services.

Individuals may not refuse ISSA. It is a requirement of the Waivers.

ISC agencies will be required to track requests for services from outside their assigned geographic areas-both accepted and denied. The agencies will be required to maintain a log that includes:

  • Name of individual and guardian
  • Individual/guardian contact information
  • Date of request
  • Date of rejection or denial
  • Previous/current (sending) ISSA
  • Reason for denial, if the individual was denied

SODC Operations News

Choate Center

Cedar Building started to have a celebration each moth for the individuals. In August, they celebrated with ice cream sundaes which everyone enjoyed. On September 30, the individuals celebrated month's end with apple crisp accompanied with ice cream and apple cider. October's event is in the planning stages.

The Choate Boy Scout troop has finished their peanut sales for this Scout fundraiser. They sold a grand total of $2,326.00 - outstanding!!

The Choate Greenhouse is selling mums for the fall season.

Fox Center

Fox Center is celebrating its 50th Anniversary. On October 2, Fox Family and Friends and the Fox Employees Incentive Committee will be providing a hot dog/chips luncheon for all three shifts. Other events include the opening of a time capsule and a balloon launch. Other events are planned during the week.

Kiley Center

Ronald Sta.Ana, a Mental Health Technician II, was chosen as Employee of the Month for August. He was recognized for the excellent care and support he provides the individuals he works with. There is one particular individual whose guardian requests that Mr. Sta.Ana accompany their loved one to off grounds appointments due to the rapport he has with that individual, and his ability to communicate and translate the needs of that individual to outside entities. Mr. Sta.Ana received an award of $50.00 as well as the parking spot of his choice for the month of September. (Each member of Kiley Executive Staff donates $3.00 per month toward the $50.00 award.)

Ludeman Center

Ludeman residents are currently participating in a basketball tournament. The games began on September 29. Each team (representing a unit) plays each other twice. The teams with the best record will play for the championship on October 8. Each game lasts 20 minutes with a running clock.

Mabley Center

Mabley residents participated in a dance that was held last week on campus.

A guardian donated an activity table for Keller Home. We appreciate the generosity of our residents' families and friends.

Murray Center

Open Forums were held on September 23 to inform staff, parents and guardians on changes and updates at the Center.

Two Registered Nurse I's were hired on September 21, and are currently receiving orientation training.

Shapiro Center

Shapiro Center places great emphasis on the Community Experience program for the individuals it serves. The center director recently received a telephone call from a member of the community who complimented the center on the positive interactions between staff and residents at a local restaurant.


The September 18, 2015 edition of the DDD Scoop contained information about a SharePoint implementation project in Central Office. This article failed to mention that John McNamara is co-managing this project along with Gary Kramer.

Inspiring Events

I must say that I have been inspired by a number of events over the last two weeks.

On Tuesday, September 22nd, I had an opportunity to tour programs run by the Hope Institute. The Hope Institute provides services to children with developmental disabilities. The vast majority of the children served (80%) have a primary diagnosis of autism. In touring the program, I was pleased to hear from Clint Paul, the Chief Executive Officer, that the program places a heavy emphasis on vocational programming and community employment. I believe that it is important to plant "employment seeds" in children while they are still in school. In my humble opinion, that dramatically increases the likelihood that they will want to pursue employment opportunities when they become adults. As I toured the grounds, I observed staff who were heavily and respectfully engaged with children with complex behavioral challenges. Staff were professional and energized by their work.

On Wednesday, September 23rd, I toured programs operated by DD Homes. While none of the people served were present when I toured the homes, I was impressed with how neat and clean the homes were. The bedrooms were all decorated to individual taste. I met Russ, an able administrator, who started as a Direct Support Person (DSP) and worked his way up to his present role. He was very knowledgeable about the programs and the needs of the people served, some of whom he supported many years ago in his role as a DSP. It's always nice to hear how we are rewarding dedicated employees and creating career paths for our DSPs (who remain the backbone of our system).

On Wednesday, September 30th, I attended a "Meet and Greet" event with Ronnie Cohn, Court Monitor for the Ligas Consent Decree. In attendance were Ligas Family Advocates, Ligas Class members and Illinois families. The event was held at Suburban Access Inc., in Homewood, and hosted by The Arc's Executive Director of the Ligas Family Advocate Program, Shirley Perez.

I always enjoy attending events like this where I have an opportunity to meet self-advocates, families and other involved persons and hear first-hand about the challenges they are facing to get their sons and daughters connected to essential supports and services. I heard a number of touching stories from families. I was inspired by their stories, their courage and their perseverance.

Even as they shared their success stories, you could hear the hesitancy in their voices and their concern that things could potentially fall apart in a moment's notice, thus rendering them back into difficult if not crisis situations. I learn so much from events like this about how much work is yet ahead of us to strengthen our system of care. Difficult questions must be answered in order to effectively respond to the concerns of individuals, service providers, families and aging guardians, particularly the latter who wonder what will happen to their sons and daughters when they are no longer around.

Finally, last Sunday, I was inspired as the Pope ended his historic visit of this country. Pope Francis' genuineness has touched so many people and so many lives. Through his example, he is tearing down walls and bringing people together around a common mission. His message is, perhaps, very basic: all people should be treated with dignity and respect.

Pope Francis once said, "All life has inestimable value even the weakest and most vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn and the poor, are masterpieces of God's creation, made in his own image, destined to live forever, and deserving of the utmost reverence and respect."

As I attend meetings, conferences, and other events and tour programs around the state, I am humbled by the efforts of staff, service providers, advocates and families who are working hard to help people have meaningful lives, creating person centered environments and treating people with the dignity and respect that we all deserve.

Thank you all for what you do for the people we serve!