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Attorneys: Providers still not being paid

Monday, Aug 31, 2015

[Comments now opened.]

* From Ed McManus…

Attorneys for Illinois residents with developmental disabilities told the federal court Monday afternoon that many provider agencies still have not been paid for the services they have provided. (See attached documents) They said the court needs to order a mechanism to ensure that complete and accurate information about payments is provided, so that compliance with the Ligas consent decree can be evaluated. “The state consistently has failed to provide all of the relevant information throughout this dispute.”

The lawyers said they “do not now advocate a finding of contempt. Our goal simply is to make sure that the payments required by the decree and this court’s orders are made in a timely manner.” The state should be ordered to bring to the court’s attention, in advance, any potential non-compliance to avoid “the type of inefficient and disruptive ‘fire drill’ that the court and the parties have been through over the past several weeks.”

The lawyers had asked Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman last week to consider finding state officials in contempt of court for failing to comply with Ligas, a decree issued in 2011 in which the state agreed to enhance the disability system.

Ed McManus, a Wilmette-based consultant representing many of the provider agencies, said: “It is good that the state has now made most of the payments, but these agencies had to wait two long months, and that was unconscionable. Many of them had exhausted their reserves and maxed out their lines of credit. What a shame that the state caused all this anxiety for these vulnerable people and their dedicated providers.”

The court filing said:

    –Some group home providers still remain unpaid for July and August services, and many intermediate care facilities have not been paid for all Fiscal 2015 services.

    –Contrary to the assertions of the comptroller’s attorney, the state did have funds available to make payments Aug. 21 as ordered by the court.

    –State statutory and state constitutional obligations do not have priority over the consent decree. The lawyers are not asking the court to require that Ligas payments take precedence. They are simply arguing that their payments should not automatically be put in line after these other payments. “The state put the payments required by this court and federal law behind many other payments.”

    –A south suburban provider, Family Assn. Plus, received a letter from the state Aug. 25 announcing that it was eliminating the expedited payment program, which provides money faster to agencies that need it. The attorneys said this announcement must be rescinded immediately. “Such a suspension would be devastating to the providers participating in this program.”

Another hearing before Judge Coleman is scheduled for Tuesday.

* Attachments…

* Ligas - Reply Memorandum

* Exhibit A

- Posted by Rich Miller        

25 Comments
  1. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 1, 15 @ 9:30 am:

    If the blame is left at the doorstep of the Office of the Comptroller, you are missing the whole point.

    The Office of the Comptroller is being put in a horrible spot by the Executive, the Office of the Governor.

    The duties and responsibilities of the Office of the Comptroller are being put in a precarious spot by the Office of the Governor and the need to leverage political action, causing the functions of government to be strained by any definition you’d like to use for strained.

    The Governor’s Office has put the Comptroller’s Office “out there” to take the slings and arrows by actually doing the job prescribed by law and the constitution. Heavy burden that the Comptroller’s Office shouldn’t have to carry.


  2. - anon. - Tuesday, Sep 1, 15 @ 9:30 am:

    This is what happens when charities don’t rely on donations and become government contractors. Donors become far less generous and let the government pay for it as, after all the donors are paying taxes.


  3. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Sep 1, 15 @ 9:31 am:

    If you are going to hold anyone in contempt, hold Rauner and Madigan in contempt. Just them. Maybe even lock them up for a few days.

    Otherwise, you can hold multiple “officials” in contempt but get ready to be “paid” with IOU’s.


  4. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Sep 1, 15 @ 9:36 am:

    The “Executive” cannot pass a budget unilaterally, regardless of who “owns” it.

    It takes at least two to dance in this case, and blaming strictly one or the other for sitting on their hands while the music plays is myopic.


  5. - Nick Name - Tuesday, Sep 1, 15 @ 9:36 am:

    “This is what happens when charities don’t rely on donations and become government contractors. Donors become far less generous and let the government pay for it as, after all the donors are paying taxes.”

    Who said DD providers were supposed to be charities? Do you have any idea how much it costs to run a DD facility? Are you prepared to cover the expenses, you know, in the spirit of charity?


  6. - Juvenal - Tuesday, Sep 1, 15 @ 9:40 am:

    === Heavy burden that the Comptroller’s Office shouldn’t have to carry. ===

    Choices have consequences, OW, and Munger chose to blame cash flow instead of noting that the governor’s office waited until 11:59 to present bills.

    She chose to be Robin to his Dark Knight, his “wingman”, instead of standing her ground as an independent Constitutional officer.

    If she doesn’t want to take the heat, she needs to make a different choice, like

    “I think Topinka was right, we need new revenue, and the Manufacturer’s Association is right, holding the state budget hostage to the Turnaround Agenda is doing more harm than good. Moody’s provides a road map….”


  7. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 1, 15 @ 9:48 am:

    - Juvenal -,

    I will say this to your comment;

    The 2 “re-do” moments, the presser with Munger saying she supports the Turnaround Agenda and the State Fair “wingman” comments put the political focus of what’s going on squarely on the political relationship between Munger and Rauner. Those specific political choices, words, put unneeded political pressure on Munger the person and that residue does taint the Office.

    However…

    The duties, responsibilities… functions … of the Office of the Comptroller, governmentally, are being stained by the requirements and demands of the governmental actions of the constitutional Executive of Illinois government, the Office of the Governor, and in that, the Comptroller’s Office burdens are not of their own doing.

    Two parallel tracks, seemingly headed in concert and in the same direction, but actually aren’t.


  8. - Austin Blvd - Tuesday, Sep 1, 15 @ 9:53 am:

    We know what Jim Edgar says about all of this. What would George Ryan say?


  9. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Sep 1, 15 @ 9:55 am:

    ==Munger chose to blame cash flow==

    Probably because it is cash flow. Y’all act like there’s an abundance of cash to make all of these payments. There isn’t. Choices have to be made and there are many payments ahead of the payments being discussed here.


  10. - Louis G. Atsaves - Tuesday, Sep 1, 15 @ 10:09 am:

    There seems to be a disconnect between demands to “pay the bills” through court orders or otherwise, and the fact that the State of Illinois has income that is $300,000 per week less than the bills everyone is demanding be paid.


  11. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 1, 15 @ 10:14 am:

    - Louis G Atsaves -

    Bruce Rauner owns the shortfall

    You’re welcome.


  12. - Norseman - Tuesday, Sep 1, 15 @ 10:23 am:

    Yes Louis, Rauner is presiding over an unbalanced spending pattern. As Willy says, this is all on Rauner - HE OWNS IT.


  13. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Sep 1, 15 @ 10:38 am:

    Illinois owns the shortfall, collectively, as a failure of the two independent branches of government required to pass a budget.


  14. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 1, 15 @ 10:41 am:

    ===…as a failure of the two independent branches of government required to pass a budget.===

    Nope.

    Governors own budgets. Remember?

    “Pat Quinn failed.”

    Rauner has no budget, Rauner failed Illinois.


  15. - Wordslinger - Tuesday, Sep 1, 15 @ 11:01 am:

    One independent branch of government has stated, repeatedly, for months, that it is not willing to engage on developing a budget until certain non-budget conditions are met.

    That’s kind of the big deal standing in the way.


  16. - Roamin' Numeral - Tuesday, Sep 1, 15 @ 11:19 am:

    At some point, the court will order increased taxes to pay for the court ordered payments. If they can make orders on the expenditure side, it’s not too big of a leap for them to make an order on the revenue side.


  17. - Norseman - Tuesday, Sep 1, 15 @ 12:23 pm:

    State escapes contempt. From Sun Times:

    === Still, Coleman tweaked the comptroller’s office for not flagging a cash-flow issue when it failed to comply with her order to pay services for the severely developmentally disabled by Aug. 21.

    “That was disturbing to the court,” she said. ===

    Communication is an habitual problem in government.


  18. - LTSW - Tuesday, Sep 1, 15 @ 12:39 pm:

    These providers were not being paid timely even before the FY16 budget impass. All they are doing now is using the court order to try and get at the front of the line. If the judge wants them paid she should define which court orders come first.


  19. - walker - Tuesday, Sep 1, 15 @ 12:42 pm:

    Wouldn’t want to be Comptroller. Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.

    Will we quickly have competing judicial orders to pay?


  20. - Anon221 - Tuesday, Sep 1, 15 @ 12:51 pm:

    Anon @ 930-

    This type of response shows a total lack of comprehension as to how the public-private social service structure works. While not as harsh as comments I’ve recently read on various newspaper comment sections regarding the humanity of social service recipients, please take some time and learn more about how some of your local providers work and for whom. Someday you might need assistance, and I’m sure your perception will be different then.


  21. - BobO - Tuesday, Sep 1, 15 @ 1:50 pm:

    Disability providers have been underfunded for the better part of last 20 years. Compared to what the state paid itself for institutional services, community services are more than 50% behind in cost-of-living adjustments.

    No way that charitable giving can cover the actual cost of the 24-7 support needed by individuals with disabilities.

    For Illinois, I doubt that “NickName” and others who think so would pony up enough to cover even 1% of the actual costs, each and every year.


  22. - Nick Name - Tuesday, Sep 1, 15 @ 1:54 pm:

    BobO, re-read what I wrote. I didn’t say DD facilities should be made to get by on charitable donations. I said the opposite.


  23. - Muscular - Tuesday, Sep 1, 15 @ 2:43 pm:

    Nothing here states that Munger sent state checks to Planned Parenthood and Rich along with a lobbying firm before she paid the disability providers. How can she call herself a Republican when she puts Planned Parenthood ahead of those caring for the disabled? Munger elevates the abortionist and ignores those supporting life.


  24. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Sep 1, 15 @ 3:18 pm:

    Muscular:

    Give me a freaking break. Who knew that the abortion debate could be brought into this mess. Kooky as kooky can be.


  25. - Capitol View - Tuesday, Sep 1, 15 @ 3:25 pm:

    When the Lyndon Johnson War on Poverty was initiated, most states begged their community based human services providers to broaden their client base beyond their established ethnic or religious identity, rather than re-create and duplicate these existing agencies to serve generic state eligible clients. Being non-profits and therefore seeking to address the common good, almost all community based agencies went along. Government thanked them all, and promised to pay a full and fair rate for these additional clients that did not match the local agency service audience and donor base.

    But as the new century began, state government sought to reduce its expenditures. Client eligibility was tweaked where it could be done, but mostly community based agencies experienced no rate adjustment for inflation or a far insufficient amount.

    Terminology of the “Private Sector - Public Sector Partnership” disappeared and local social services providers were treated as if they supplied pencils to state government, rather than be the direct service arm of the various state agencies. IDOA started calling their network of providers “vendors”.

    On occasion, some providers have threatened to go back to just serving their ethnic or religious neighborhood base, and telling the state that they will accept no more referrals from all across the geographic area. When that happens, the state agency usually begs them to hold onto their state clients and accept more, with some concessions made on paperwork reporting and slight rate increases. But the age of the “Private Sector - Public Sector Partnership” is over, due to Illinois state government being a terrible organization to do business with.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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