The DDD Scoop Newsletter

Welcome to the latest edition of the DDD Scoop. After today, I'll be on vacation for a week to recharge my batteries. But before I go, I want to update you on a few important matters.

Prioritization of Urgency of Need for Services (PUNS) Integrity Project

As you may know, since May of 2015, the Division and the Independent Service Coordination (ISC) agencies have been engaged in an effort to improve the integrity of the PUNS Waiting List by ensuring enrollments are current within a one-year time period, as the statute requires. ISC agencies were given some one-time funds to assist them in addressing the backlog of overdue enrollments. When the project began, there were over 10,000 enrollments that had not been updated within the required time frame. I am pleased to report that with a great deal of focus and effort over the last year, that number has been reduced to 587, giving us an average statewide compliance rate of 97%. Now we have to maintain the high compliance rate. This is an extraordinary accomplishment. Congratulations to the ISC agencies and to Troy Markert, who led this effort for the Division, in ensuring the PUNS Waiting List accurately reflects the needs of the individuals seeking services.

Organizational Announcements

I am pleased to announce the following new hires, transfers, and promotions within the Division's central office staff:

Maureen Haugh-Stover has been selected as the Bureau Chief for Community Services. Maureen has been serving in that role on an interim basis since Joe Turner's retirement on April 29, 2016. During the past three months, I have had many opportunities to work closely with Maureen and observe first-hand the knowledge, dedication and enthusiasm she brings to this role. As you know, Maureen has a wealth of experience in the human services field. Prior to joining the Division's Greater Illinois Network eleven years ago, she had worked over twenty years for the Division of Mental Health. Earlier in her professional career, she worked for a community agency that served individuals with mental health and developmental disabilities needs. She earned Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Social Work, and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

Pamela Manning has accepted the Public Service Administrator supervisor position in the Bureau of Quality Management that became available when Alfred Gakunga decided to remain in his Social Service Program Planner role. Pam joined the Division in January 2011 as a Social Service Program Planner, and has served as the Office of Inspector General liaison since April of 2014. Pam also hold Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Social Work, and is a Licensed Social Worker and Licensed School Social Worker. Her prior work experiences in social work include: Social Service Director, Long Term Care Facility; Hospital Hospice Social Worker; Special Education School Social Worker for Grades Pre-K through 12; and a Mental Health Center Therapist for children and their families.

Jenny Spraggs has accepted a Management Operation Analyst II position within the Bureau of Reimbursement and Program Support. Most recently, she has worked as a Quality Review Program Specialist for the Bureau of Quality Management. Before joining the Bureau of Quality Management, she worked at Jacksonville Developmental Center. Jenny has also worked for the Department of Children and Family Services, and started her career as a Graduate Public Service Intern (SPSI) as a Special Assistant to the DHS Chief of Staff from 2005 to 2007. Jenny holds a Bachelor's in Social Work and has taken classes toward a Master's Degree in Human Services.

On August 1, the Division welcomed two staff to the Bureau of Transitional Services. Trevelyn Florence-Thomas has returned to the Division as a Social Service Program Planner III. Trevelyn began her career with the State of Illinois in 2010 at Jacksonville Developmental Center, where she served as a Qualified Intellectual Disabilities Professional and a Mental Health Administrator. Prior to her state service, she worked as an Adult Probation Officer for Morgan County and in various positions in the private sector. She holds Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Sociology.

Derek York has also joined the Bureau of Transitional Services as a Social Service Program Planner III, and has been employed with the State of Illinois since November 2009. Derek initially worked at Murray Developmental Center as a Mental Health Technician Trainee, and in 2012 transferred to the Illinois Department of Corrections in the role of Correctional Officer. In 2014, he took a promotion and moved to Springfield as a Human Services Caseworker with the Division of Family and Community Service.

Finally, as of August 1, Kathy Ward can remove the word "Acting" from her role as Chief of Staff for the Division. She began state employment in 1994 as an attorney with the Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, and joined the Division in 2014 as Associate Deputy Director for State Operated Developmental Center Operations. Since August of 2015 she has assisted me in meeting the many challenges facing the Division.

Rule 116 Modifications

This a reminder that the first notice public comment period for the proposed amendment to Rule 116, Medication Administration ends on August 8, 2016. Please follow the instructions in the Illinois Register if you are still interested in submitting comments.

August Employee of the Month

Jim Eddings of the Bureau of Program Development & Medicaid Administration was chosen by the Employee Appreciation Committee to be Employee of the Month for August. In addition to his hard work dealing with many issues involving the Ligas Consent Decree, Jim has assumed primary responsibility within the Division for strategic planning. He works closely with senior staff within the Division as well as within the Illinois Department of Human Services' Office of Innovation, Strategy and Performance. He manages all this with an unfailing can-do attitude.

Jim Eddings

Trainer's Corner: Process for Approval of a Behavior Therapist

This round of Trainer's Corner will describe the steps involved in getting an approval for a Behavior Therapist. Illinois allows for individuals who are not certified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) or Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) to provide behavior therapy services as a Behavior Therapist (BT). This is simply an approval given by the State of Illinois and is not part of the BCBA Corporation's certification. The approval allows the Behavior Therapist to provide behavioral services and bill the State of Illinois at a level called "56U Level II". The steps for this process are listed below:

  1. Submit a fully completed Checklist C that has either Documentation that you have been approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board to take the examination to be credentialed as a BCBA or a BCaBA and a sample behavior plan designed and/or written by the applicant. Or, you can submit a certified copy of a college transcript reflecting a bachelor's degree in a human services field, a sample behavior plan designed and/or written by the applicant, and at least 1,500 hours of coursework, training and/or supervised professional experience (Read the checklist on who is considered acceptable to supervise those hours) in the application of behavior analysis or behaviorally-based therapy models reflected on page 2 of the application. The easiest way to submit the application is as a PDF attachment to an email to .
  2. The request is entered into the State of Illinois database for individuals who have been approved to provide behavioral services as "pending".
  3. The application is sent electronically to the review team for approval.
  4. A review team representative sends a response, of either an approval letter or the need for additional information, to the applicant.
  5. If the response sent is for additional information, the approval process is placed on hold until the applicant submits the required information and the review team approves the request. This is usually where a delay occurs due to not submitting the required information at the beginning of the process. Applicants need to ensure they submit all the information regarding the plan, including Functional Assessment, data collected, graphs showing the data, etc. Also, the only supervised hours that are eligible toward the 1,500 are hours where the applicant is in direct contact with the individual receiving services and being supervised by appropriately credentialed personnel (see Checklist C). Desk work hours are NOT eligible hours.
  6. Once the application has been approved by the review team, the status in the database is changed to "approved" and an approval letter is sent. The letter includes links on how to enroll as a Medicaid provider. There are also links to the DHS website for other important Provider resources and a link to obtain a National Provider Identification (NPI) number.

If you have questions regarding the application process for approval, contact .

If you have questions regarding enrollment as a provider, contact .

Events Links to Upcoming Training

Face-to-face: August 9, August 10 and August 11, 2016, Qualified Intellectual Disabilities Professional Course Coordinator (QIDP) link: to register and for more details.

Webinars: August 30th Medication Administration in the Community RN Nurse-Trainer Rule 116 link: see bottom of page to register and for more details.

Face-to-face: October 4th and October 13th - New Provider Agency Orientation Trainings for Prospective CILA and DT Providers link: to register and for more details

Opportunity to Participate in a Study

The Ligas Member/Family Advisory Council met on July 12, 2016 and listened to a presentation from Amber Angel and Alisa Sheff, researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago. They asked the committee for assistance with their ongoing study. The University is collaborating with six Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Centers across the nation to learn about the experiences of people with disabilities who have moved out of nursing homes and other institutions.

The researchers are looking for 50 individuals with disabilities across Illinois who will share their experiences of moving from an institution into the community. Participants will be asked to take part in an interview that will last about 90 minutes.

If anyone is interested in sharing their experiences, please contact the research team at: (312) 996-9655.

SODC Operations News

Choate Center - An Anger Management Group has been started at the Cottages and in mid-August, a WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) group will begin. This is an evidence-based treatment that focuses on wellness and recovery and is typically used with individuals who have psychiatric challenges. However, the Cottages are attempting to tailor this to individuals with dual diagnoses.

Fox Center - Linda Dunlap, Rehab Workshop Instructor, retired on July 29, 2016. Linda had 39 years of state service. A potluck and a team were held in her honor.

Kiley Center - Kiley's annual pool party was held July 29, 2016 at the Zion Park District pool. Thirty-five individuals attended with their staff. Individuals who did not participate in the pool party attended the weekly dance in the gym where they enjoyed the music and dancing.

Ludeman Center - Twenty six mental health technicians were scheduled to start on August 1, 2016 in addition to a psychiatrist and temporary clinical lab phlebotomist. Nine mental health technician transfers are scheduled to start on August 16.

Mabley Center - Six individuals participated in Special Olympics Softball Skills in Oregon, Illinois. Athletes performed batting, fielding, running and pitching skills. The group stopped for lunch at the local restaurant before returning home.

Murray Center - Plans are underway for a "Memorial Way" to be developed at Murray Center. The Murray Parents' Association is sponsoring this project. Fifty-four Cleveland Pear trees will be planted and will line the entrance way. Tags will be made to attach to the trees, indicating for whom the tree was donated. Trees may be donated in memory of someone who has passed away or in honor of someone living. There will be a dedication ceremony later in the year once the trees are planted.

Shapiro Center - On July 27, a reporter from the local newspaper interviewed retiring Center Director Ira Collins. A retirement tea was held on July 29.

The End of an Era

Finally, as mentioned above, on Friday, July 29th, Ira Collins retired after 46 years of service at DD and 60 years of work in the field of developmental disabilities. During his tenure, Ira has received recognition for his numerous contributions to the State of Illinois' developmental disabilities system. In 2007, the House of Representatives of the 95th General Assembly of the State of Illinois honored Ira for his dedicated service. He received the Illinois Department of Human Services' Platinum Customer Service Going the Extra Mile (GEM) Award in 2013. His service at Shapiro Center has consistently resulted in exceptional internal and external surveys, a testament to his fortitude, leadership and hard work. I was honored to say a few words at Ira's retirement tea and to present him with a plague. I was moved by all of the kind words said about Ira in the speeches and in the awards he received during the ceremony. More importantly, I was touched by the large number of staff, family members, individuals and other involved persons who waited in a long line to say goodbye to Ira and to personally thank him for his many contributions to the Shapiro Developmental Center and the DD system.

One definition of success is "leaving things better than you found them". By that definition, Ira has had an extremely successful career, and he will be sorely missed!

Have a great weekend and please enjoy the rest of the summer!