[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.
* Ligas - Reply Memorandum
* Exhibit A