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July 13, 1999

Ryan Announces Federal Approval Of State Program For Persons With Developmental Disabilities

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced the renewal of Illinois' Medicaid home and community-based services program, which helps the Peoria-based Family Support Network and other facilities in the state.

"It's important that persons with developmental disabilities decide whether they want supportive services in their homes or in their communities," Ryan said. "For the first time, supported living for persons with developmental disabilities can select services that will aid them in becoming as independent and productive as possible."

Participants now can select options, which allows individuals to receive home-based services tailored to their needs. Services currently covered by Medicaid include personal care, nursing, homemaking, transportation, supported employment, adaptive equipment and physical, occupational and speech therapy. With a maximum annual budget of $18,000, individuals can choose a package of services and providers.

Charlotte Cronin, Coordinator at Family Support Network, said she was excited about the inclusion of the new "Supported Living Array" as one of the choices available to adults with disabilities. "Over the decades, families have made hard decisions and great sacrifices to keep their loved ones with disabilities at home, often against the then popular advice to 'place' or institutionalize' them," said Cronin, who has a son with a disability. "These families have saved the state millions of dollars and deserve support."

Ryan said participants also can choose to live in a community group home with a 24-hour staff. Community group homes offer services similar to those for supported living.

The state required federal approval for the program as it provides services that are otherwise not provided under the Medicaid program to persons ages 18 and over with developmental disabilities or mental retardation.

Ann Patla, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Aid said, "The state has established a strong working relationship with the federal Health Care Financing Administration and will move ahead to add new in-home services for persons with developmental disabilities."

The Illinois Department of Public Aid administers Medicaid in the state. The Illinois Department of Human Services oversees the supported living or community group home programs.

"We're very pleased to be able to respond to consumer's recommendations and provide needed services to the developmentally disabled and their families," said DHS Secretary Howard A. Peters III. "The supported living program allows families to keep family members at home while offering a wider range of services."

Governor Ryan, Public Aid Director Ann Patla and Secretary Peters were commended by Don Moss, Executive Director of United Cerebral Palsy of Illinois, for obtaining the three-year approval of the federal waiver.

"This is an outstanding achievement for our state and demonstrates once again that Illinois is in a strong leadership position in its normalized and integrated community service system for persons with developmental disabilities, " Moss said. "This waiver is crucial for the future of such services here and nationwide."

The federal agency approved the program's operation for three years, effective July 1, 1999. The program is expected to serve 7,700 people in the first year at an estimated cost of $213 million in state and federal funding.

According to Carolyn DeJean Christiansen, Chair of Consumer & Family Advisory Council on Developmental Disabilities, the federal government's timeliness and expediency in getting the HCFA waivers will have a positive impact in Illinois. "Consumers and families were actively involved in the development of the Illinois HCFA waiver and look forward to its expansion of services and choices," Christiansen said.


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