May 15, 2020
Over the past months, as we've communicated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our State Operated Developmental Centers, I have had the opportunity to speak directly and regularly to guardians and parents of our residents. This past week, I had the pleasure of joining close to 150 individuals and families on an Arc sponsored Speak Up, Speak Out call. I also hear regularly from our IPADD Unite parent founders who ask questions and share feedback. Hearing directly from the guardians, parents and family members is so important during this time. I want to acknowledge how difficult this pandemic has been on our families, who are either unable to visit (in person) their loved one during this time (if they're in a residential program) or for those that are caring for their loved one 24/7. I know the pandemic has created a lot of fear, worry, frustration and isolation. I want to thank all of our family members and caregivers for all you are doing to support your loved ones, yourselves and our providers during this pandemic. The Division is here for you if you need help. Please don't hesitate to reach out.
ACES$ TIMESHEET CHANGES
The Division has received notice that ACES$ now intends to more closely follow their posted timesheet schedule. There has been considerable flexibility that ACES$ has provided to our Personal Support Workers, Self-directed Assistants and employers for the submission of timesheets. As a reminder, timesheets are due the day identified on the pay schedule, usually the day after a pay period ends. Timesheets submitted after the posted due date may not be paid on time. For May, ACES$ is reviewing late time sheets and hope to provide payment by May 22nd. ACES$ will be providing this update to employers and Self-directed Assistants. They are apologetic of the change and that it wasn't communicated sooner.
BE COUNTED! CENSUS 2020
As you know every ten years our country conducts a count of how many people are living here. Our Census 2020 count is underway, which means that we count every person who lives in our state, our neighborhoods and our communities. The Census is crucial because it ensures our communities have the fair resources they deserve by determining how much federal funding Illinois receives for our schools, social services, hospitals, roads, and other public services we all depend on to strengthen our communities especially during emergencies. This pandemic we're facing has proved to us the importance of all of us coming together and completing the census.
Individuals can easily complete the Census while still social distancing:
- Online: Visit https://my2020census.gov/ and fill out the Census now on your computer, tablet, or smart phone.
- Phone: Call 844-330-2020 to fill out the Census over the phone. The US Census Bureau offers assistance in 59 non-English languages, including American Sign Language.
- Mail: Fill out the Census form you received in the mail and return it, free of charge, to the US Census Bureau.
Providers, we really need your help to ensure that individuals you support are also counted! You can help promote the Census by posting online, via social media, or simply encouraging your friends and family to complete it.
CILA providers, in particular, should make sure to report census data for group home participants. Better yet, support them to complete the census forms together!
BED HOLD REMINDER
CILA providers serving individuals who have gone to a family or other caregiver home during the COVID-19 pandemic, and who will surpass 60 days of consecutive bed hold, are reminded to submit a bed hold extension request for an additional 30 days (up to a total of 90 days bed hold) if needed. Requests should be sent through the applicable Independent Service Coordination agency as is the norm.? If you have already submitted a request, it is not necessary to submit another one. The Division will approve all requests for an additional 30 days due to the pandemic. The Division does not have the ability to extend the bed hold past 90 paid days for providers. Providers wishing to discharge an individual past the 90-day bed hold would need to follow the traditional discharge process, including issuing official appeal notice to the individual.
APPENDIX K APPROVAL RECEIVED
I am pleased to report that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has formally approved the Division's request for temporary changes to its Home and Community Based Services waiver due to COVID-19.? Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) filed a consolidated Appendix K on behalf of all its waivers.? The link to the federal website is below.? All states' approved waivers are included, so you will need to scroll down to the Illinois entry.? Our Appendix K request was intended to be as pro-active as possible and may include options that we have not implemented. Any steps we have taken to date have been communicated. We will continue to keep you updated on this front and if additional changes are made.? Here is the link:
SHARING STORIES OF GOOD
From Lisa from Keshet in Chicago, IL: One of Keshet GADOL's newer virtual programs is a Self-Advocacy series. With the loss of in-person programming, Keshet didn't want team members to also lose their voice. During the Self-Advocacy series participants learn how to make their voices heard and how to speak to legislators about what's important to them. After just two weeks, we have already seen how powerful their voice can be. Members are speaking up about wanting to take a more active role in our virtual programming. Some have already started leading and co-leading virtual groups for their peers. At our last group, members got to meet Representative Bob Morgan (58th district) and learned about legislative advocacy. The purpose of this group is to elevate the voice of people with disabilities.
Keep sending Stories of Good to Emily Hughes, BQM: firstname.lastname@example.org
Be well. We know you're doing your best. Hang in there. We're in this together.