The DDD Scoop (4-15-16)

Helping Families. Supporting Communities. Empowering Individuals.

The DDD Scoop Newsletter

Regional Management Update

Welcome to the latest edition of the DDD Scoop. I want to take this opportunity to inform you of progress we are making in transitioning to a regional management structure to oversee our State-Operated Developmental Centers (SODCs). A workgroup was created in January, 2013, to discuss the challenges SODCs were having (and continue to have) with recruitment and retention of skilled executive staff and long delays in filling critical positions. The workgroup recommended the development of a regional structure to oversee and support the seven SODCs throughout the state. We believed the regional structure would also accelerate existing efforts to standardize, restructure, streamline and consolidate SODC functions, which in time would lead to operational efficiencies and savings in state funds.

In April of 2013, the Regional Management workgroup sent its proposal to the then Executive Leadership Team (ELT) for approval. Based on input from ELT and others throughout the agency, the Regional staffing needs were developed and submitted for approval. These positions then became part of the larger reorganization effort the Division had initiated. Over the next few months, we are hopeful that all the positions will come on line and the regional management proposal will after a long and carefully planned effort come to life.

On the Move

  • Sybil Nash has accepted the position of Assistant Center Director at the Fox Developmental Center. Ms. Nash has been employed with the State of Illinois since April, 2000. She initially worked at Fox Center in the role of Habilitation Program Coordinator, and in 2007 transferred to McFarland Mental Health Center in the role of Social Worker. While at McFarland, she also served as the Acting Clinical Director. In 2011, she returned to Fox Center in the role of Lead Social Worker, and in 2015 was appointed Interim Assistant Center Director/Residential Services Director. Ms. Nash has a Bachelor's Degree in Education, a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology, and a Master's in Social Work. She is also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She brings a strong background in clinical experience and administrative leadership to her new position.
  • As part of the Regional Management progress noted above, John Absher has accepted the position of Assistant Deputy Director for Region II. Region II consists of Mabley, Shapiro, Murray and Choate Centers. John has over 36 years' experience working in the field of Developmental/Intellectual Disabilities. He has held a license as a Nursing Home Administrator since 1995, as well as a Certified Intermediate Care Facility/Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF/IID) Surveyor. John has been employed by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) as the Northern Supervisor since April 2006. In that role, John has designed and conducted training for IDPH surveyors, and served as the liaison between Illinois and Federal ICF/IID surveyors and supervisors. He has presented numerous times to the Illinois Health Care Association conferences, National Nursing Home Administrators Association conferences, and Illinois Rehabilitation Facilities conferences. Prior to John joining IDPH, he was employed as a Unit Director at the Shapiro Center and served as an administrator at the Fox Center. He has also worked as an Administrator for several ICF/IIDs, group homes, and Community Integrated Living Arrangements throughout Illinois. John will be based at the Shapiro Center, and begins his new assignment effective April 16.
  • Maureen Haugh Stover has graciously agreed to assume the role of Acting Deputy Director for Community Services as a result of Joe Turner's decision to retire from state government. Maureen has a wealth of experience in the human services field. Prior to joining the Division of Developmental Disabilities' Greater Illinois Network eleven years ago, she had worked over twenty years for the Division of Mental Health. She began her professional career working for a community agency that served individuals with mental health and developmental disabilities needs. Maureen holds Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Social Work and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. As the Acting Deputy Director, she will be a member of the Division's Senior Staff.
  • As a result of Maureen taking on this new role, some reassignments within the Bureau of Community Services are being considered. Until such time as these considerations can be finalized and in order to ease Maureen's transition, I have asked Kathy Ward to take on responsibility for the Bureau of Clinical Services in addition to her responsibilities as Acting Assistant Director/Chief of Staff. Both Kathy and Maureen will be working closely with Joe Turner for the remainder of the month to ensure the continuity of leadership.

Please congratulate Sybil, John, Maureen, and Kathy on their new roles.

PUNS Selection Letters

We recently received a question about when families and individuals could expect to receive the PUNS selection letters. Please be advised that all of the PUNS Selection letters were mailed out at the same time during the early party of April.

Employment First Update

Recently, the Division met with a small group of stakeholders to work on Employment First concepts specific to the Division's services. This project is being facilitated through the support of a consultant, Lisa Mills, funded through a grant from the United States Department of Labor. It is also supported with funds from the federal Balancing Incentive Program (BIP). The first meeting of the group was held on March 30, 2016.

During that meeting, the stakeholders focused on service definitions and possible modifications to enhance opportunities for individuals to access supported or competitive employment. The second meeting, held on April 7, 2016, focused on provider and staff qualifications and rate structures. Staff are now working with Ms. Mills to develop written descriptions of the draft modifications for review by the group. The stakeholders intend to meet again by the end of May. It is the Division's intent that this work will be used during the renewal of the Adult Medicaid Waiver now underway.

Finding Your Way through the Developmental Disability System in Illinois

Below is a link to materials developed under an investment from the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities. These materials describe the basic steps in accessing developmental disability services in Illinois and provide information on a variety of topics. We hope you will find them interesting and informative.

Link to the materials: How to Find Your Way Through the Developmental Disability System in Illinois


Many Division staff will be attending an "all-day" intensive training on Active Treatment on April 20, 2016. The training will address the removal of active treatment expectations for waiver program services.

The Division is also offering the following training opportunities for providers and others interested:

  1. A Webinar: "Life Choices Initiative - From Active Treatment to Supports - Changing the Model of Service Delivery for Developmental Disabilities Waivers in Illinois will be offered three times next month. Those interested in attending can choose from May 4, May 5, or May 12. Details below:

    Webinar Description: Historically, Illinois has used an active treatment standard in the delivery of developmental disabilities services in Illinois for both individuals living in an Intermediate Care Facility for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF/IID), and those receiving home and community based waiver services.

    Federal rules require active treatment as an aspect of the delivery of services within an ICF/IID, based on a treatment model which requires intensive engagement every day. The Home and Community-Based services (HCBS) Waiver, however, does not require providers to offer and deliver active treatment to people enrolled. The HCBS waiver requires the delivery of support and services, identified through a person-centered planning process and based on a person's identified outcomes, which will assist the person to continue to live in the most integrated setting possible.

    This training will focus on the differences between active treatment and a supports model, and how the goals of the Life Choices Initiative support movement toward implementing an outcome-based, person centered system of services and supports which align with the CMS home and community based final rule.  The presenters will be Mary Lou Bourne and Jeanine Zlockie from the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services, consultants for the Illinois Life Choices Initiative.

  2. Face-to-face training for new providers will be offered later this month:  Register for New CILA/DT Providers Orientation Training on Wednesday, April 27, 2016 in Oak Lawn, Illinois.There is still space and time to register.
  3. Finally, there is an opportunity to learn more about the Support Service Team (SST) process:Register for Webinar:  An Overview of Support Service Teams (SSTs) on May 11, 2016 10:00 am - 11:30 am CDT. There is still time to register

SODC Operations News

  • Choate Center - Due to the difficulty in finding psychiatrists to meet the needs and requirements of best practices for psychiatric care, a workgroup has been established and has been working hard to develop and implement policies and procedures for tele-psychiatry. As a result of this hard work, Choate's Tele-Psychiatry Program began providing services for the Choate residents on April 11, 2016. 

    Illinois Department of Public Health recently conducted a follow-up survey to the annual review and an Incident Review Investigation which both resulted in all deficiencies being cleared.

  • Fox Center - Fox Center has received the MyGaze, eye gaze program. The program works by tracking the eye gaze of the user, enabling those that are non-verbal and unable to use their extremities the opportunity to communicate and learn by moving their eyes to a subject. Similar to how Xbox 360 works, a small device mounted on a computer monitor receives eye movements and transfers the responses to a computer screen. This allows an individual to make a selection with his/her eyes instead of vocally or by touch. The MyGaze program was trialed at the Center by vocational and speech and hearing staff, with noted benefits for numerous residents. The program was purchased with donated funds.
  • Kiley Center - The Center conducted three Open Forum meetings recently. Staff were invited to attend in order to discuss their ideas, suggestions and concerns, and over 70 staff attended. Numerous topics were discussed including overtime and how to apply for state jobs on-line.Center conducted its quarterly Tech Select testing earlier this month with 46 applicants in attendance.
  • Ludeman Center - Ludeman Center received notice that it will receive a $500.00 grant from the Chicago Cubs Diamond Project Program. The funds will be used for softball activities for individuals at the Center.The Center recently acknowledged World Health Day by distributing flyers with a focus on Diabetes Prevention.
  • Mabley Center - The Peer Review Committee visited Mabley to conduct its survey. The results were very positive.
  • Murray Center - Thirty supervisors attended a "Supervising Others" workshop. Topics included a survival guide for the supervisor, setting expectations, assigning work, degrees of delegation, providing feedback, resolving conflict, and time management.
  • Shapiro Center - Representatives from the Illinois Department of Public health closed out their follow-up review of the center's annual survey. Shapiro is in compliance with its annual inspection of care and a previously cited incident. Shapiro did receive a new Standard Level tag, which was immediately addressed. Based on the issuance of the tag, the Center is conducting "refresher training" for all staff.

Tour of the May Apartment Complex

Finally, I'm pleased to report that on Thursday, April 7th, Secretary Dimas and I toured the May Building, a 72-unit apartment complex in Edwardsville that six individuals who receive division services can now call home. This complex, and the opportunity it has provided to these people, is the culmination of many hours of work, creative thinking, patience, and perseverance on the part of many dedicated collaborators, including families, self-advocates, supportive housing representatives, service providers and state employees. It's truly amazing what can be accomplished when people of goodwill come together with common goals and interests.

While so many people contributed to this project, including family members and advocates doing their respective parts behind the scenes, the following people deserve special recognition for their contributions:

  • Lore Baker, Statewide Housing Coordinator, Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS)
  • John Fallon, Corporation for Supportive Housing, Senior Program Manager
  • Virginia Jarrell, DDSME, Ligas Lead
  • Jane Nesbit, DDSME, Executive Director
  • Mike Lowry, Trinity Services, Inc., Southwest Illinois Director
  • Ray Carmody, Trinity Services, Inc., Director of Administrative Operations
  • Art Dykstra, Trinity Services, Inc., Executive Director
  • Joe Turner, Deputy Director Bureau of Community and Clinical Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities
  • Reta Hoskin, Associate Director, Division of Developmental Disabilities
  • Kit O'Brien Cota, Bureau Chief, Bureau of Transitional Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities
  • Doug Bone, Bureau of Transitional Services Representative, Division of Developmental Disabilities

When I think of what is necessary to increase service options for people and to create more person-centered environments, it is apparent how important projects like the May Building, and other supportive housing models, are in increasing opportunities for people to live successfully in integrated settings. While the May Apartment Complex is a service model that embodies the new Home Community-Based Service (HCBS) requirements, the most important part about this model is not HCBS compliance, but rather its impact on people's lives.

As I toured the complex, memories of my college days came flooding back. I remembered how liberating it felt on my first days on campus. I enjoyed the independence and the ability to control my dorm room (who I let in), my schedule, and, best of all, my life. As the individuals toured me through their units in the May Building, I saw in their faces that same sense of independence, pride, and confidence as they control their lives and their destinies.

Tours like this are very uplifting because I can see first-hand how our systems change efforts are impacting people's lives, and that gives the work we do real value and meaning.

I can't thank you all enough for all that you do for the people we are privileged to serve.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the great weather!