[Bumped up from late Friday afternoon for visibility and comments opened for discussion.]
* The directors of DCFS and the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services sent a letter late this afternoon to the Child Welfare Medicaid Managed Care Implementation Advisory Workgroup. Excerpt…
The Department of Healthcare and Family Services and the Department of Children and Family Services are committed to ensuring that our state’s most vulnerable children and young adults have access to high quality healthcare. They and the families who care for them deserve coordinated, whole-person healthcare and wrap-around services to help them navigate a complex system and lead them to healthy adulthood.
There is nothing more important to us than getting this transition right, and after listening to stakeholders across the state, HFS and DCFS have decided to extend the start date for these programs from November 1, 2019 to February 1, 2020. This delay will help ensure a smooth transition and allow HFS and DCFS to engage further with families, providers and other stakeholders and to monitor the managed care organizations more closely.
This decision comes in the wake of Cook County Public Guardian Charles Golbert’s harsh criticism of the transition, which will impact 36,000 kids. Legislators and stakeholders have also sharply criticized the move.
*** UPDATE *** Heidi Dalenberg, Director of the Institutional Reform Project, ACLU of Illinois…
We welcome the decision by DCFS to delay the process of forcing the children under their care - our clients - into managed health care. But make no mistake, the announcement of February as a new target date for beginning this process remains arbitrary and aspirational.
Rather than focusing on a date certain, we encourage – and will be making this case directly to State officials – that the emphasis be on assuring that children in the care of DCFS do not suffer disruptions and terminations of critical health care services as the providers and insurance companies figure out this process.
Let’s make sure that we have the process in place and then roll out the launch. There is a long way to go and we are not convinced, based on careful analysis, that it is possible to be fully prepared by February.