Group seeks investigation, claims state agency would violate federal law
UPDATED 5:55 p.m. Wednesday
WASHINGTON — A national organization is calling on U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to investigate the action being taken in Illinois that will short agencies serving people with developmental disabilities for one month of services provided in the current fiscal year ending June 30.
"Not only is such action morally unacceptable, we assert that it is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Supreme Court Olmstead Decision, as well as federal law and regulation governing the Medicaid program," states a June 20 letter to Sebelius from the National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors.
Here is a link to a copy of the letter to Sebelius.
The organization is calling for the investigation in response to a June 18 letter sent to agencies by Kevin Casey, director of the Division of Developmental Disabilities at the Illinois Department of Human Services.
The letter states Illinois can't pay for one month of services in the current fiscal year for day programs, child group homes, community living facilities, therapies, equipment, training and individual support services advocacy, and will be deferring payments and services into the new year after the new budget is finalized.
Providers were also warned to expect ongoing delays in payment at the comptroller's office.
Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka said she will prioritize payments for programs serving the developmentally disabled starting immediately in the new fiscal year, but warned the unpaid bills to hospitals, businesses, schools and service agencies awaiting payment at
Januari Smith, spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Human Services, said Wednesday night the department is committed to serving people with developmental disabilities.
"The fact that the Department of Human Services' FY12 budget is insufficient does not break any laws as indicated by the NACBHDD," she said. "The lack of funds will result in slight payment delays, not reductions to vital services," she said.
Smith also said payments will be processed in 11 days when the state's new fiscal year begins and providers are encouraged to maintain vital services without interruption for the rest of this fiscal year.
For more, see The News-Gazette Thursday.