Contracting for Independent Service Coordination Agencies

On September 1, 2016, the Division of Developmental Disabilities, housed within the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), met with representatives from the 17 Independent Service Coordination (ISC) agencies and informed them of the Department's intent to seek competitive proposals for future ISC contracts. The Department believes this action is in the best interests of the State and the individuals served, especially in light of evolving expectations from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) regulations, as well as renewals of the Department's Medicaid Waivers.

Following extensive study and public hearings on procurement reform, the State enacted Public Act 96-0795. The changes in this statute resulted in greater oversight and more transparency in formal bid solicitation and the contracting process. As part of the new processes, the Illinois Department of Human Services is adopting the practice of issuing Notice of Funding Opportunities (NOFO) for all of its contracts covering grants that do not fall under the State's Procurement Code.

Under the NOFO process, the Department posts on its website a notice that, among other things, describes the programs being contracted, qualifications for conducting those programs, requirements of the contractor, and desired contract deliverables and outcomes. Potential vendors must submit proposals by the specified due date detailing how they would meet the requirements and expectations of the NOFO. Vendors are then selected by the Department from the proposals submitted.

Selection decisions are made based on a variety of factors requested in the NOFO. These factors may include, but are not limited to, overall quality of the proposal, consistency with desired outcomes, financial costs, strengths of the potential vendor, etc. Decisions are not made exclusively on financial costs, but rather take into account the best value for money of all proposals.

The Department began using the NOFO process in FY2017. Examples of previous NOFO documents can be found at:

The Department is now preparing NOFOs for the Independent Service Coordination (ISC) agencies. One of the first steps in this process was seeking feedback from the ISC agencies themselves. The official comments period is now closed. We appreciate all the agencies that submitted feedback to the Department. We will be using your submissions to inform our adjustments to the contracts. We appreciate your assistance.

The Department intends to update this webpage in its efforts to inform all stakeholders-including potential vendors-as we work through this initiative.

Contracting for Independent Service Coordination (ISC) Agencies-Key Areas of Interest

Timeline. The Governor's Office of Budget and Management (GOMB) provides information related to the timelines for NOFOs, which can be found here:

The Department anticipates the new ISC grant agreements to come into effect by July 1, 2018 at the latest.

Geographic Boundaries and Choice of ISC Agencies

The Department will perform a deep analysis of need by geography and may adjust the currently defined boundaries for service provision.

Programs Subject to NOFO

The Department will conduct a thorough analysis of the various programs funded to ISC agencies and make a determination of which will be included in the new solicitation for services.

Potential Changes to Funding Structure

The Department will complete a comprehensive review and may propose a new funding structure that allows for increased consistency for ISC agency planning and improved accountability and transparency for the Department.

Consistency and Compliance with Ligas Consent Decree

All changes will be consistent with the Ligas Consent Decree. If you wish to refer to information about the Ligas Lawsuit and Decree, you may find it at

Service Planning Changes

ISC agencies must begin completing service plans for all Waiver participants by July 1, 2017. The Department has developed an action plan for these changes, which is currently under review by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. Although any changes from the NOFO process may not be in effect until July 1, 2018, this target date for service plan changes must still be met by July 1, 2017.

Conflict Free

Proposals will not be considered by entities that provide direct services to individuals with developmental disabilities. To qualify to be selected, an entity must not provide such services, nor may it have representatives of provider organizations on its Board of Directors. In this context and for this purpose, Managed Care Organizations will be considered providers of services and will not qualify for selection.

Performance Measures and Desired Outcomes

The Division will be developing and implementing performance measures to ensure greater transparency and accountability with the outcomes desired by the Division, including but not limited to:

  • Individuals served will be healthy and safe;
  • Individuals served will have real relationships with family and friends;
  • Individuals who want to work will have paying jobs;
  • Individuals will make decisions about their lives; and
  • Individuals will have opportunities to contribute to their communities.