Happy New Year. I hope that everyone had a chance to spend time reflecting on the past year and the year ahead. I know that the continued COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing staffing challenges certainly make seeing the positives more challenging. I want to acknowledge those challenges and let you know that the Division will do what we can to help you. As you know, I always make myself available to those that reach out. Please do not hesitate to contact me at Allison.Stark@illinois.gov.
I continue to feel the system has much to be grateful for. Rates are increasing significantly with the approval from Federal CMS for our waiver funded services and these increased rates should start reaching providers in February (for January billing). For the first time, ever, our PUNS list is below 15,000 (currently hovering around 14,300). This is a result of increased PUNS pulls as well as cleaning up our PUNS data. We continue to make movement towards Settings compliance, strengthening our person centered planning process, getting a firmer handle on our system capacity and growing service needs as well as the many and varied other projects the Division is undertaking (see exciting news about new respite programming below!) I would also like to mention that increasing Independent Service Coordination (ISC) visits from 2 to 4 starting July 1, 2022 (pending Federal CMS approval of our renewal) will mean better, more coordinated, services for individuals with I/DD across the State of Illinois. I am grateful for the relationship the Division has with all of our stakeholders and partners. I look forward to continuing to work together in 2022.
RESPITE NOFOS RELEASED
Yesterday, In-Home/Residential Respite, Voucher Respite, and Group Respite were released. The purpose of the Division's Respite grants are to provide relief and/or reduce the stress of a caregiver of a children or adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities while also helping to reduce the need for long-term services and supports. Respite services are reserved for individuals that are not current HCBS waiver recipients. If an individual is in any of DDD's three waivers or is in the Home Services Program operated by the Division for Rehabilitation Services, they cannot be served in respite programming. In addition, all program goals and performance measures have been updated and we have increased the reimbursement rate (and eliminated the tiers) for individual respite.
NEW RESPITE SERVICES AVAILABLE AND TOLL FREE LINE
In July, the Division in partnership with the Illinois Respite Coalition (IRC), was awarded a five-year $1.3 million dollar Lifespan Respite Care Enhancement Grant from the Administration on Community Living (ACL). As a result, the Division and the IRC is pleased to announce new respite programming!
New Statewide Respite Number
To make it easier to access respite services for caregivers, IRC has a new, statewide respite toll-free line to provide statewide information and referrals for respite across the state, and lifespan. The toll-free line can be reached at 866-ILL-RESP (866-455-7377). To reach the Statewide Coordinator, extension 101, for Spanish, extension 103.
Funding is now available for emergency voucher stipends (up to $500) for caregivers in a crisis situation receiving no other state or waiver funding. The newly funded Emergency Respite Care (ERC) Program's goal is to minimize gaps in services for caregivers in crisis and to provide linkage following ERC funding to longer-term supports already available in Illinois. Please contact us at 866-ILL-RESP ext. 101.
Statewide Respite Trainings
Finally, a new statewide virtual respite training program will be available to interested respite providers. The virtual training is flexible and can be completed at its own pace. With a certification following training completion, IL. can begin the process of creating a statewide database of trained respite workers to help address the shortage that was exacerbated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The virtual training platform was created by the Respite Care Association of Wisconsin (RCAW) with funding from the ARCH National Respite Network and the National Academy of State Health Plans (NASHP).
RULE 116 WORKGROUP
The Division will be revising Rule 116 which provides oversight to medication administration in CILAs. We are looking for volunteers to be a part of a work group to suggest changes to the Rule. Space is limited. The work group will meet weekly for the next few months. If you would like to volunteer or make suggestions on changes, please contact Jennifer Gentile.
NEW TRAINING WEBPAGES
The DDD Provider Training page has been updated and now includes direct links to available trainings, recorded webinars, training resources, new provider orientation and more. Please also note the NEW Train the Trainer - What's Right about Sex Education for providers.
Hang in there,
- Allison V. Stark
- Director, Division of Developmental Disabilities
- Illinois Department of Human Services
- 600 East Ash-Building 400, Springfield, IL 62703
- Tel: (217) 782 -6803
The information contained herein should not be considered a substitute for the appropriate official statutes, rules, regulations, or the advice of legal counsel.
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