NATIONAL DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT AWARENESS MONTH (NDEAM)
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month! The purpose of NDEAM is to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. I was able to participate in the State Employment Leadership Network (SELN) annual conference yesterday (and today) to hear about the work across the nation to build employment capacity in provider organizations. I was inspired by the work of sister SELN states and also a tad overwhelmed by the work we have ahead. A great step forward is the release of our DDD funded SEP Information Bulletin that went out today. I am so pleased we are able to provide a path forward for those transitioning out of DRS vocational rehabilitation funded services. This has not been an option for a number of years.
In order to celebrate NDEAM I will be hosting a Celebrating Employment webinar on October 22nd from 2pm to 3pm. I hope to give an update on employment activities (including next steps!) in Illinois as well as have a small panel of providers sharing their employment programs and supports for inspiration. More details will be shared as we get a bit closer but save the date!
Our Information Bulletin on VDS is also final, and effective, as of today (10/1). I have to give a huge shout out to my team that went from idea to implementation in about 6 weeks (this project could have easily taken 6 months). There were various points this could have been held up between our Appendix K application, form revision and ultimately, the ROCS update. But all went swimmingly due to their hard work.
Please note from the final IB: In order to bill for VDS (31V), CDS providers must download and install ROCS 6.08. ROCS 6.08 and instructions can be found here: https://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=60904
Providers who use a 3rd Party version of ROCS need to access the IT requirements for modifying your 3rd Party ROCS at the following link: https://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=60880
TESTING FOR FUNCTIONAL LITERACY
In order to authorize a DSP to be able to administer medications in a community-based setting they must be at least eighteen, have a high school diploma or obtain a G.E.D., demonstrate functional literacy and have successfully completed 8 hours of classroom training on medication administration. The Division has issued guidance that DSPS must demonstrate an 8th grade reading equivalence. Many providers have used the TABE 9&10 to demonstrate this functional literacy.
Unfortunately, it has come to our attention that the often used TABE 9&10, in paper form, is no longer available. We are currently reviewing our policy and will issue an Information Bulletin on the topic in the coming weeks. In the meantime, providers could use one of the options below to meet this requirement. Please note that reference to the linked webpages below to any specific product, process, resource, or service, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for information and convenience, and does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by IDHS. Options include:
- Use the online version of TABE 9&10.
- Use the paper based TABE 11&12, which has a higher threshold for the reading requirement. If you are using the TABE 11&12, then the Level M would be used, with a minimum score of 563, to determine an 8th grade reading equivalence. Information regarding ordering either of these products can be found at https://tabetest.com/order-forms/
- The CASAS Literacy Reading Assessment tests are available through Web-based testing and test booklets. Information regarding this option can be obtained at https://www.casas.org/home
- The Adult Basic Learning Examination is available for download at https://marketplace.unl.edu/buros/adult-basic-learning-examination-second-edition.html
REGION 1 IN MITIGATION
IDPH announced that Region 1 is entering into mitigations due to an increase in COVID cases. You can find all IDPH community-based mitigation guidance here: https://www.dph.illinois.gov/regionmetrics?regionID=1 Again to remind our providers, CDS providers in Region 1 are not required to make changes to their operations in response to the mitigations announced. However, community-based guidance is different than guidance for our LTC facilities, which specifically, and exclusively, impacts ICF/DDs. ICF/DD residents in Region 1 will not be allowed to attend CDS programs during mitigation. CDS providers are able to send people to an ICF/DD to provide CDS.
CARES FUNDING FOR PROVIDERS
Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) announced the distribution of $140 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act payments to Medicaid providers to offset the costs of fighting the coronavirus pandemic. This first round of funding will help Medicaid providers, including ICF/DDs, cover COVID-19 related costs, such as hazard pay for direct care workers, personal protective equipment purchases, and other previously unbudgeted expenditures incurred. You can find more information here: https://www.illinois.gov/hfs/MedicalProviders/notices/Pages/prn200928a.aspx
The Division has been working closely with HFS on CARES distributions and will continue to discuss and advocate for additional support for additional provider types.
DDD STAFF UPDATES
I am pleased to announce that Tiffany Bailey will officially hold the Deputy Director, SODC Operations position for the Division. She has served in the Acting Deputy Director role since 2017. Tiffany has dedicated her entire professional career to working with individuals with I/DD, first at a community-based organization as a QIDP and then, for the past 25 years, in SODC operations. Tiffany will continue to provide oversight and direction for our SODCs, short-term stabilization (SSH) homes, and Services Support Teams (SST). We are so pleased she has accepted this Deputy Director role.
The Division is also excited to announce we hired Dr. Dennis Beedle as our new Medical Director. Dr. Beedle is a board-certified psychiatrist and a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He is a former Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical College and previously served as the Clinical Director for the Division of Mental Health. Dr. Beedle's main responsibilities will involve community focused medical and psychiatric policy oversight, case consultation and clinical eligibility determinations. Dr. Beedle has personal experience with a family member with I/DD and is pleased to be rejoining IDHS!
Thank you for all you do!