Good Afternoon,

The Division is aware that the recent surge in the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the nationwide staffing crisis is testing the foundation of the DD system. The impact is being felt across the service system and includes services in individual and family homes, provider group homes, community day services, ICF/DDs and the State Operated Developmental Centers. And the impact is not just Division specific. My colleagues across IDHS and other state agencies report similar stress within their systems. I appreciate all of the providers that have reached out and shared your agency’s challenges. I sincerely wish this was not happening at a time when the system was just starting to see additional investment and support. But this is where we find ourselves. All we can do is work together to find solutions and hope. This communication serves to communicate some of the additional flexibilities that the Division is able to implement effective immediately to try and reduce administrative burdens so that you and your teams can focus on the individuals you support. Thank you for all you do for the people you serve.

QUICK NOTES

  • Per IDPH, the preliminary seven-day statewide COVID-19 positivity for cases as a percent of total test from December 31, 2021 – January 6, 2022 is 15.2%.  The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from December 31, 2021 – January 6, 2022 is 18.5%.
  • Reminder: FREE testing resource with Midwest Coordination Center.
  • Additional IDPH Testing Resources.

BUREAU OF QUALITY MANAGEMENT (BQM) REVIEWS

According to the Federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) the Division is required to review a certain number of individuals and agencies as determined by a random sample each fiscal year. The review suspension in March 2020 caused significant disruption and challenged our ability to meet these requirements. While suspension of reviews is impossible, the Division is implementing the following allowances:

  • BQM will notify all providers that are planned for review in January 2022 to give them more time to prepare. BQM will notify providers that are planned for review in February 2022 at the end of January.
  • BQM will work with providers that require additional considerations and assistance due to staff absences or significant COVID-19 impact.

RN REVIEWS

  • RN Reviewers will notify all providers that are planned for review in January 2022 to give them more time to prepare. RN Reviewers will notify providers that are planned for review in February 2022 at the end of January.
  • RN Reviewers will work with providers that require additional considerations and assistance due to staff absences or significant COVID-19 impact.
  • The Division is temporarily reducing the quantity of records requested in RN Reviews to:
    • 4 employee files (previously 8)
    • 4 individual files (previously 8)
    • MARS reviews will be equivalent to 1 month of documentation (previously 3 months)

RESIDENTIAL USE OF AT-HOME DAY PROGRAM

Blanket 37U has been extended to January 31, 2022. Blanket extension renewal (for those who currently have it) or new requests should be sent to Joy Decker at Joy.Decker@illinois.gov. She will send you the At-Home Day Program (37U) Blanket Request Submission Form.

  • Providers should consider all submissions approved upon sending to Joy Decker.
  • Blanket 37U can be requested for an entire CILA program and can be used when CDS programs are closed and/or individuals are quarantined.
  • You can choose any end date up until January 31, 2022.
  • If you have submitted the At-Home Day Program (37U) Blanket Request Submission Form you do not need to resubmit a new form for each instance the CDS program is closed and/or individuals are in quarantine.

 NOTICE OF FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES (NOFO)

The Division needs to release, collect and then review eight NOFOs for important (mostly ongoing) programs prior to July 1, 2022 in order to avoid program disruption. The NOFO process requires time and attention. With that being said, the Division will be doing the following:

  • Extending the Competitive Integrated Employment Capacity NOFO submission date to February 15, 2022.
  • Extending all 3 recently released Respite NOFO submission dates to March 4, 2022.
  • Hold on releasing any new NOFOs until February 1, 2022 and will provide extended response time.

HOME AND COMMUNITY BASED SETTINGS VALIDATION PROCESS

Settings compliance for over 2200 sites must be completed by March 17, 2023. We have not been notified by Federal CMS that this will be delayed. We need to continue to make progress in this endeavor in order to protect and maintain our waiver funding. The Division will be doing the following:

  • Extending the HCBS Settings pre-screening survey for provider-owned or controlled waiver sites by 2 weeks, to February 15, 2022.
  • Hold releasing any additional Settings related surveys or activities that require provider response until February 15, 2022.

INFORMATION BULLETINS

  • No new DRAFT Information Bulletins will be released, unless they provide for increased COVID-related flexibilities.
  • Information Bulletins related to the recently approved Waiver Amendment will be released to guide providers with the implementation.

DSP TRAINING

  • The Division will be providing additional flexibilities for the DSP Training to allow newly hired DSPs to be able to work at sites more quickly. Those will be released via Information Bulletin soon.

Take care,

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

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