The DDD Scoop (6-24-16)

Helping Families. Supporting Communities. Empowering Individuals.

The DDD SCoop Newsletter

Opportunity to Comment on Employment First Strategic Plan - Comments due June 28, 2016

Welcome to the latest edition of the DDD Scoop. I am pleased to announce that the Employment First Executive Order called for the development of a Strategic Plan to implement Employment First in Illinois. The plan includes strategies for:

  • Improving strategies and supports necessary to make disability employment part of the state workforce development strategy, prioritize integrated employment as the first option for people with disabilities, and increase integrated community employment;
  • Identifying and implementing policy changes to align with the goals of Employment First;
  • Finding and supporting businesses in their efforts to employ people with disabilities;
  • Transition planning and services in full compliance with applicable state and federal laws and regulations, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Illinois School Code which prepare youth with disabilities for careers that use their full potential, including early career awareness and work experience and creating the necessary infrastructure to accomplish these goals; and
  • Establishing benchmarks and collecting data to track employment outcomes

The Task Force established several work groups to develop the Strategic Plan. Each workgroup was co-chaired by a public member and a State Agency member of the Task Force. Each work group was comprised of public and state agency members of the task force, additional state agency representation as appropriate, members of the public including service providers, educational entities, persons with disabilities and employers.

Each work group met over a series of months via teleconference and in-person meetings to develop the Strategic Plan recommendations. Initial drafts were reviewed by the Task Force and State Agencies prior to releasing the draft to the public for additional review. Comments are sought from the public at this time to ensure that the Strategic Plan represents a broad range of perspectives on this issue.

Comments will come in without filter, be incorporated as determined applicable by the subcommittees and the task force as a whole. The entire set of recommendations will then be submitted to the Governor's Office, the Illinois State Legislature, and relevant state agencies.

The web address is: http://employmentfirst.illinois.gov. There is a link to the open comment page on the right hand side of the web page. To read workgroup suggestions and make comments:

  1. Click on one of the workgroups listed on the top right of the Open Comment page.
  2. You will be taken to a web page where the workgroup's recommendation areas are described by activity.
  3. Click on the activity you want to learn about.
  4. Offer feedback by clicking on the comment page link at the bottom of the page.
  5. Fill out the comment form and click submit.

If you have any questions about the process, please contact Tania Morawiec at tania.morawiec@illinois.gov.

Navigating the IDHS Website

We often receive comments from providers and family members that they have difficulty locating needed information on the IDHS website. As such, we suggest that you save one or both of the following links as a "favorite" to make it easier to get to Developmental Disabilities information that is most often needed. Developmental Disabilities Information: http://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=29749

Developmental Disabilities Services (for customers): http://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=81789

Publication of Amendment to Medication Administration Rule 116

The proposed amendment to 59 Illinois Administrative Code 116, the Division's Medication Administration Rule, is being published in the Illinois Register on June 24, 2016 for a public comment period of 45 days. During this time, stakeholders and other interested parties may submit comments as directed in the publication. This public comment period expires on August 8. The Division appreciates the efforts of the Nurses Workgroup in completing the draft language, as well as the review by the Developmental Disabilities Regulatory Advisory Group. The proposed amendment includes efforts to streamline paperwork and processes for nurses and direct care staff. It also includes changes regarding insulin and other provisions of Public Act 98-0901.

Following this first public notice, the Division must respond to comments and make necessary modifications. That work will be followed by a second 45-day public notice period, as required by law. While this work is underway, the Division is planning to announce and hold voluntary training sessions for nurse trainers in order for nurses and providers to be prepared when the amendment is adopted. Stay tuned for more information!

Code of Personal Conduct

Executive Order 2016-04 directed the Illinois Department of Central Management Services to prepare on behalf of Governor Rauner, a Code of Personal Conduct, and file the Code with the Executive Ethics Commission.

The purpose of this Code is to:

  • Ensure that State employees are conducting the business of the State in an honest and respectful manner.
  • Promote accountability to the taxpayers and the people of Illinois.
  • Promote honest and ethical conduct and fair dealing.
  • Promote compliance with applicable laws, policies, rules and regulations.
  • Deter wrongdoing.

The principles and policies set forth in the Code should be familiar to all DDD employees as they are the same principles of public service that each of us strives to uphold as we serve the people of our state day in and day out. The Code is in addition to, and does not replace, our IDHS employee handbook or other IDHS policies. Rather, this Code puts in writing the responsibility that each of us has to the people of the State of Illinois to act with integrity and to treat the people we serve, our colleagues, and other parties with dignity and respect.

The Code will not become effective until July 1, but we wanted to provide access to it through this issue of the DDD Scoop. The State's Labor Relations team has also notified union representatives, and the State is committed to adhering with the applicable obligations of labor law and labor agreements. Supervisors and other agency personnel will receive training on this Code over the course of the summer. A copy of the Code will also be posted publicly on the Team Illinois website: http://team.illinois.gov. It can be accessed from the Ethics Resources link.

Fitness Challenge

On April 4, 2016, the Centrum Office Employee Appreciation Committee (EAC) started an 11-week Fitness Challenge. We kicked off the challenge with 18 participants. By June 20, 2016, the last day of the challenge, we were down to nine participants. Weekly weigh-ins at the Memorial Weight Loss and Wellness Center on the first floor of the Centrum Building were held, and a weekly winner received a $5 gift certificate from MC Café in the lobby. The participants worked very hard and encouraged each other in making it a healthy competition. With lots of exercise and dieting, great results were seen. We separated the challenge in two categories: male and female. We are pleased to announce the winners of the challenge were Jim Eddings with a 19.39 loss of his total body weight and Sherry Hinds with a 13.81% loss of her total body weight. The winners each received a $50 cash prize and a certificate from the EAC. Congratulations to everyone who hung in there for the full 11 weeks. You all did a GREAT JOB!!!

Jim and Sherry

On the Move

Tracy Aldridge, MD, recently advised the Division that she would be leaving her post as Medical Director, Bureau of Clinical Services. On July 1, 2016 she will assume the role of Associate Director of the Springfield Family Medicine Training Program at SIU School of Medicine. Tracy has been an invaluable resource for the Division throughout her 6-1/2 years of service. The Division is fortunate that she has offered to stay on in a more limited role for the next few months. Over the ensuing period, we will be working closely with Tracy and the SIU School of Medicine to define the role of the Medical Director and ensure a smooth transition.

Beverly Dudley, a Social Service Program Planner III in the Bureau of Quality Management, has announced her intent to retire effective June 30. Beverly has served the State of Illinois for over 15 years, and we wish her health and happiness in this new stage of her life.

Countdown to the Move

The regularly scheduled Iles Park Move meeting was rescheduled for the week of June 27. Updates will be provided in the next issue of DDD Scoop or earlier as needed.

SODC Operations News

Fox Center - The Activities Department is in the process of establishing a themed dining room at the Center. The theme will be rotated every three months, and the first theme will be Italy. Another room is being established to include books, music, lights, a recliner, chimes and various other items for interaction and stimulation for the individuals we serve. The rooms will be accessible to individuals at all times of the day and night. The Center will be holding a contest to name the rooms.

Kiley Center - Eleven athletes participated in the 2016 Illinois Special Olympics held in Normal over June 10-12. Kiley had one gold medal winner, two silver medal winners and one bronze medal winner in the softball throw, and one silver medal winner in the 100 meter run. All athletes received ribbons of participation and participated in the annual Saturday night street dance in downtown Normal. Many parents attended the event, and everyone is already looking forward to next year!

Kiley Center - On June 15, social work services staff members met with representatives from a community residential provider to discuss potential transition opportunities for several Kiley individuals.

Ludeman Center - Ludeman individuals won one gold metal, four silver medals and two bronze medals at the Illinois Special Olympics.

Mabley Center - Individuals visited Huffman's Carwash to see how the process of car washing takes place. They learned about all the steps it takes to wash cars. Vacuuming features, step-by-step washing procedures, de-bugging, wheel washing, waxing, rinsing and drying were all demonstrated. Individuals were interested in the cost of washing a car, how many hours employees work, and how much money employees earned.

Mabley Center - Individuals visited Lee County Health Department to participate in the "WALK THE LINE" drill. In the event of a public health emergency, the Lee County Health Department may be required to distribute vaccine or medications to a large group of people. Mabley's role was to help the Health Department practice handling the "line" of citizens they may need to serve. Individuals filled out mock forms, and followed a line into different rooms in order to be educated on what the mock disaster was about. This mock emergency was an anthrax contamination. Individuals received mock medications (in the form of M&Ms) and were registered for a prize drawing. Individuals were able to go through the line several times, each time changing their "mock" personal information. This allowed the medical staff to provide medical treatment in different ways. The Mabley group enjoyed the experience and was particularly excited about the goodie bags they were given to take home.

Murray Center - The Center has posted seven Mental Health Technicians, one registered nurse position and one residential services supervisor position.

Shapiro Center - Individuals enjoyed a recent visit to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago where they were able to see dolphins, penguins, whales and hammerhead fish among other attractions.

Town Hall Webinar

We value communication with service providers, self-advocates, individuals and families we serve, and we learn from your questions, your comments, your suggestions and your feedback. That's why we were pleased to host a Town Hall Webinar on June 23, 2016 where we had an opportunity to give and get information, to promote awareness of Division initiatives and priorities, and to receive and respond to questions from participants. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that we had 287 webinar registrants; unfortunately, the system crashed right in the middle of the Webinar. I sincerely apologize for the technical difficulties experienced during the Webinar and any inconvenience it may have caused. Ironically, I have always been someone who shies away from cameras for fear of breaking them. I guess this time it actually happened. In any event, we will continue to collaborate with the GoToWebinar company to identify the source of the crash and to correct the difficulties we experienced on Thursday. We will work to reschedule the Town Hall meeting as expeditiously as we can.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Transformation Town Hall Meeting

Finally, I am pleased to report that on Tuesday, June 22nd, I attended the second Town Hall meeting on the Health and Human Services (HHS) Transformation where I once again heard Secretary Dimas and directors of other state agencies and departments provide an overview of their plans to transform the systems of care for our most vulnerable citizens. The four pillars of the HHS transformation are: (1) Prevention and population health; (2) Modernize service delivery; (3) Pay for outcomes and values; and (4) Organize to deliver.

After careful consideration by the Transformation Leadership, behavior health was selected as an initial focus area because of the exponential growth in need and costs in recent years. The initial steps of this multi-year plan will focus on designing the nation's leading behavior health strategy, pursuing and maximizing funding opportunities and creating a comprehensive and seamless service delivery system. The overarching goal of the transformation is to fundamentally turn around a system that is facing unprecedented service level challenges. The HHS transformation seeks to expand services that work and to terminate those that don't. Stakeholder involvement will be critical to the success of the transformation; as such, focused workgroups will be formulated to solicit stakeholder input and ownership.

I believe the four pillars described above provide the foundational support needed to realize Governor Rauner's vision of transformation. Although I'm sure there will be some skepticism about the HHS transformation, I'm confident that if we can "walk the talk", there will be little doubt about whether we can bring the Governor's vision into a physical reality.

I look forward to your continued support in the journey that's ahead of us.

Have a great weekend!