January 8, 2015 - Illinois Interagency Council on Early Intervention


Open to the general public.


10:00 am to 1:00 pm


Council meetings will be held via Video Conference at the following locations:

IDHS - Chicago Location
401 South Clinton, 7th Floor
Large Executive Conference Room
Chicago, Illinois

IDHS - Springfield Location
McFarland Mental Health Facility
901 Southwind Road, Video Conference Room - 2nd Floor
Springfield, Illinois


  1. Introduction of Council Members
  2. Approval of October 2, 2014 Draft Meeting Report
  3. Service Delivery Approaches Workgroup
  4. EI Central Billing Office Update
  5. FFY 13/SFY 14 Annual Performance Report (APR)
  6. State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP) Update
  7. HFS Provider Enrollment System
  8. Adjournment

Meeting Report


  • Karen Berman, IL Early Learning Council Designee
  • Alicia Becker, Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC)
  • Brenda Devito, CFC #6 Manager
  • Beatrice Nichols, IICEI Chairperson, Head Start
  • Deanna Pratscher, parent, Thornton
  • Pam Reising-Rechner, IL State Board of Education
  • Kathy Schrock, Easter Seals DuPage and Fox Valley
  • Ann Freiburg, Division of Family and Community Services
  • Therese Wehman, Elmhurst College
  • Amy Zimmerman, Health & Disabilities Advocates 


  • J. Diane Adams-Alsberry, CALM, Inc.
  • Bob Cammarata, ICG Health Care Services
  • Julie Doetsch, IL Dept of Healthcare and Family Services
  • Sheila McCurley, IL Department of Public Health
  • Margaret Harkness, IL Council on Developmental Disabilities
  • Mary Petersen, Department of Insurance
  • Gina Ruther, DHS, Bureau of Child Care and Development
  • Connie Sims, DHS, Division of Developmental Disabilities
  • Constance Williams, PhD, DHS/Division of Mental Health
  • Angel Williams, IL Department of Children and Family Services

Contents of Council Packet:

  • Agenda
  • Draft Council Report - October 2, 2014 Meeting
  • Early Intervention Caseload Summary Report
  • Confirmed 2015 Council Dates & Locations

Call to Order

The Illinois Interagency Council on Early Intervention (IICEI) convened at 10:05 a.m.

 Introduction of Council Members

 Council members introduced themselves.

 Approval of October 2, 2014 Meeting Report 

Dee Pratscher moved for approval. Karen Berman seconded the motion. Meeting minutes were approved with Ms. Berman added to attendees

Service Delivery Approaches (SDA) Workgroup

Therese Wehman shared that the Workgroup is still in the process of developing formal recommendations. They have completed the review of entire system and are currently drafting recommendations for the middle of this process (IFSP development). The Workgroup continues to have monthly face-to-face meetings. It has taken longer than anticipated, but the Workgroup is still shooting to have recommendations to share with Council in April 2015, but no later than July 2015. Workgroup members now receive draft recommendations prior to meetings and are asked to send their comments/edits prior to meeting. Meetings are then spent finalizing the pieces of the recommendations. Council will receive recommendations with accompanying background information, rationale for recommendation, implementation steps, and timelines when complete. Kathy Schrock asked if the Council will see parts as they are completed or get the whole package at once. Ms. Wehman responded that the current plan is to share the final product in pieces as they may influence each other and be rearranged in the final report. The Workgroup's report will be similar to the report submitted by the EI Task Force.

EI Central Billing Office (CBO) Update

Tom Hwang reviewed a variety of CBO statistics from fiscal year 2014. The CBO processed over 1.2 million claims, 85% of which were submitted electronically and 15% via paper. The CBO paid out over $114 million in EI provider claims. The CBO continues to send out Explanation of Benefits and family fee invoices regularly. They completed 14,000 benefit verifications and received $1 million directly from the CBO insurance billing unit. They also collected $4 million in family participation fees. Council members asked that the details of Mr. Hwang's report be shared with them as the figures were hard to track, but they provide important information. Other activities from FY 2014 include fielding phone calls from stakeholders, installing new edits for the new speech therapy evaluation codes, enhancing the online claim submission system to accommodate ICD-10 transition, enhancing remittance data for ICG, and completing transition of lockbox for family fee payments to Springfield bank. This fiscal year's work includes collaborating with DHS and HFS on provider enrollment, working with Provider Connections on their new web-based system, continuing preparation for ICD-10 to go into effect on October 1, 2015 as coding digits. Council members asked for more information on ICD-10. Mr. Hwang and Ann Freiburg explained that this change will expand medical billing codes to 7 places and include alpha numeric codes. This has an impact on billing practices within EI and coordination between EI and HFS. The United States is one of the last nations to transition but it should provide us with better healthcare data. Mr. Hwang mentioned that there is a lot of information about what is coming on the CBO website. Ms. Devito asked if any options are being considered for payment by families other than mailing checks to the lockbox. Ms. Freiburg said that there is work underway to explore other options within the confines of DHS rules. Ms. Schrock asked about family fees in terms of timely payments and follow up. Mr. Hwang explained that there is considerable variability in families' level of understanding of family fees. CBO staff work through options with families when they call. Ms. Schrock asked how much uncollected fees had been written off to date? Ms. Freiburg shared that currently no family fees have been written off. DHS continues to work on years' worth of past due amounts. CFCs get a monthly report of families that are not paying and help follow up with families still in system. Amy Zimmerman asked about the use of 1-800-323-GROW hotline, but Tom clarified that the hotline he referenced is directly related to the CBO. Ms. Zimmerman would like to know how well the hotline and standardized referral forms are working. Ms. Freiburg will see what statistics DHS collects on this line.

 Annual Performance Report (APR)

Tahney Fletcher has been working on the APR for last month. This year's submission will be via a new online system, called Grads360. Bureau staff continue to receive numerous emails each month from other states that are having difficulty entering information into this system, so Illinois is not alone in the difficulties they are experiencing. Ms. Fletcher is working on creating a PDF version to provide to Council members for their review and hoping the system will allow this to be completed next week. The new system prepopulates with prior years' data, but corrections have been necessary in some instances. They are also finding some instances where the system's calculations do not reflect the way that we have historically calculated the indicator. It appears we are meeting most targets, with the exception of Indicator 8C, which is a compliance indicator with a target of 100%. Changes with the participation rate have occurred due to differences in using live births versus census data provided by OSEP. Ms. Schrock asked what we need to do about slippage and how can the Council help. Ms. Freiburg plans to solicit council member's input after she and Pam Reising-Rechner discuss what can be done between DHS and ISBE. Ms. Fletcher mentioned that she is still awaiting data corrections from one CFC which may improve our data slightly. Ms. Zimmerman brought up the issue of being able to possibly extend transition consents beyond a child's third birthday so that CFCs would feel more empowered to follow up with families about transition outcomes even after age 3. Though this may be a viable strategy for learning more about where children go after transition, it won't necessarily help us with this indicator which focuses on completion of transition meetings at least 90 days before the child turns 3 years old. The Bureau is currently concerned with why these meetings aren't occurring. Ms. Reising-Rechner shared that ISBE does follow up on their end based on the list of children they receive from DHS. Deanna Pratcher asked if we have low compliance numbers across all CFCs or if there were particular districts with which we are having more difficulty. Ms. Fletcher hasn't been able to look into this yet as some data is still pending. Ms. Freiburg says that this information will hopefully be shared with the Council when it becomes available. Ms. Devito clarified that if meetings occur after the child is 33-months old; we are still out of compliance for the purposes of this indicator. The indicator is not necessarily a great measure of whether or not children actually get a meeting. It is more about the timing of the meeting. ISBE has recently worked to develop letters for CFCs when families decline transition and has also developed a letter for school districts to use when they notice they didn't get information on a child whom they expected to see. These letters are still in the legal approval process and need to be reviewed by Transition Committee. Ms. Zimmerman asked if the Bureau receives a report about how many families decline transition. Ms. Freiburg shared that this is not routine but that the information is contained in Cornerstone. Information from the PA34 screen in Cornerstone as well as case closure codes could provide more information about the Council's questions. Ms. Berman asked about the report that includes information about whether or not the program has policies and procedures in place to meet program compliance, i.e. capturing information about children in child welfare and children who are homeless. Ms. Freiburg clarified that this is not in the APR. This information is reported in our Part C application. Ms. Zimmerman asserted that she hopes data use within the program could be extended beyond what is needed for federal reporting requirements.

 State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP) report

Chelsea Guillen provided a summary of activities that have occurred since the last Council update. OSEP visited in October 2014 and provided feedback on our process. Overall, they seemed pleased with our progress. November 2014 activities included convening CFC Managers from selected Innovation Zones (IZ). Feedback from the focus groups was provided and primary themes/root causes were identified. These CFC Managers also assisted with supplementing the core group's in-depth infrastructure analysis in regards to the two identified themes. December 2014 activities involved condensing the issues identified through the in-depth infrastructure analysis and drafting a theory of action. Future activities include finalizing theory of action, identifying improvement activities, and writing the actual plan. Ms. Zimmerman asked about how improvement activities would be found/chosen. Ms. Guillen emphasized that selected improvement activities need to be evidence-based with that evidence being provided. It is anticipated that some of the resources that were collected during the Program Integrity work may be utilized and some additional research will likely need to be done. Ms. Berman asked about possibilities for making linkages between EI and IZ work and the Early Learning Council's (ELC) Special Education Subcommittee work. It may be that work within the ELC groups mirrors what we are trying to accomplish, i.e., family/community engagement, enhancing external knowledge, and coordinating the two efforts.

Bureau Staff and Budget Update

Beatrice Nichols asked about progress on hiring new Bureau staff. Ms. Freiburg shared that postings for Bureau Chief, her previous position, the accounting position, and Eileen's previous position had all been posted and completed. The Bureau is currently in the DHS hiring process. Ms. Wehman asked for information about the process. Ms. Freiburg explained how the CMS grading process works. Council members offered to advocate for assistance, if they can help in any way. Ms. Berman recommended that any efforts address not only staff vacancies but also budget issues. Ms. Schrock suggested that two communications be made rather than a combination of the two issues. The first communication should address staffing concerns, including that positions need to be filled, as vacancies impact the effectiveness of our system. Ms. Berman recommended that this letter be addressed to Linda Saterfield, as well as current heads of relevant transition committees. Ms. Nichols asked for a few Council members to help iron out details. Ms. Schrock volunteered to assist and the motion was accepted. The second communication would involve preparing a statement about the budget and potentially exploring additional revenue sources for EI. Ms. Wehman asked for information from Ms. Freiburg about the current budget status. The Bureau has already begun the process for requesting supplemental funding of $14.3 million to cover projected shortfall. She has not received any information on the status of this request. Ms. Berman has heard at other tables that no state a supplemental will be given because no money is available. Any additional funding may have to be due to re-appropriation of current DHS funds. Ms. Freiburg is cognizant that programmatic changes will have to be made if additional funding is not available. Ms. Freiburg says the primary message is that funding needs to grow to match expanding caseload. Council members approved this motion for a second communication. 

 HFS Provider Enrollment System

Ms. Freiburg discussed that HFS will be changing their provider enrollment system which impacts EI and other sister agencies. They are transitioning to a system similar to one being used in Michigan. The first step addressed who enrolls in HFS. This list will need to be expanded in the new system. Provider Connections, CBO and the EI Training Program have provided input about current EI requirements. Ms. Freiburg continues to meet, share information, and ask questions in these meetings. If one system doesn't ultimately work for EI, there may need to be a separate system for EI but everyone is hoping that isn't necessary. Marketing the new system is the phase of the plan that has just begun. Process is slated to begin July 1, 2015. Next preliminary goal is to look at payment structure/requirements/options. This timeline is being driven by some federal funding that has been provided. It was asked if individuals will be responsible for enrollment or if there will be a rollover of current providers. Ms. Freiburg said at this time she is not anticipating a single transmission of current provider data. Ms. Schrock asked about the issue of managed care organizations but these mechanisms have not been finalized yet

 Other Topics:

Parent Reimbursement Policy

Ms. Zimmerman asked about progress on dissemination/ implementation of this policy. Ms. Freiburg has read but not yet made progress on this front. Ms. Zimmerman requested that this be on future agendas.

Primary Care Practitioners Cornerstone Referrals to EI

Ms. Zimmerman asked if this is available yet. Ms. Freiburg reported that the current mechanism continues to be the referral form. Online referrals are not yet available.

Electronic Tracking of Service Delays

Ms. Fletcher shared that this is being addressed by IFSP workgroup. The group is currently looking at automating document as well as exploring options for how to track service delays via Cornerstone. Ms. Berman asked to make sure that their data tracking requests be included in the conversations of this workgroup. Council members requested that they and the SDA workgroup members receive a copy of draft the IFSP document.

Telehealth Update

Ms. Schrock requested an update on the status of recommendations. Ms. Freiburg shared that they are still awaiting responses from some states that are currently using this mechanism. Ms. Schrock reminded everyone that there were some previous conversations about using this process for interpreters for the deaf. Ms. Freiburg responded that many logistics still need to be addressed. HFS has been contacted but has not responded. The Workgroup would be willing to help further exploration if warranted. Ms. Zimmerman asked that the Bureau follow up with the GOHIT (Governor's Office of Health Innovation and Transformation) group as this may be part of this group's work

ExceleRate Award of Excellence on Inclusion

Ms. Berman provided an update on some efforts within the Council on Developmental Disabilities. The Office of Early Learning submitted a request for the Council on Developmental Disabilities to fund the trainings on the Inclusive Classroom Profile that programs participating in ExceleRate need to complete in order to apply for award. Ms. Reising-Rechner added that the Preschool Expansion Grant also includes funding to help support programs as they move towards achieving the Level of Excellence. Some efforts are already in process. Statewide coordinator and coaches will be hired as funding is allocated, hopefully with a February 1, 2015 start date.


The meeting adjourned at 12:30 p.m. 

Contact Information

Jenni Grissom
IDHS - Bureau of Early Intervention
823 East Monroe
Springfield, IL 62701

Ph: 217/524-1596

email: jennifer.grissom@illinois.gov