* Elyssa Cherney at the Tribune…
The state’s child welfare agency is delaying the rollout of a new Medicaid plan for thousands of youth in its care by at least another two months amid ongoing concerns from advocates about whether it will hinder health care access for foster children.
About 13,000 foster children who were set to be enrolled in a Medicaid managed care plan Feb. 1 will now have until April 1 to get set up for the new system, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services announced Thursday.
DCFS negotiated the new date with the American Civil Liberties Union, which had objected to the implementation next month. Later Thursday, DCFS and the ACLU presented the plan in front of a federal judge presiding over the matter, who lauded the agreement and scheduled another hearing in March to monitor the progress. […]
This is the second time since September that DCFS and the state Department of Healthcare and Family Services are changing the launch date. Despite efforts to shore up the new system since then, the agencies have faced tough questions about the number of participating doctors, communication with foster parents and the quality of health assessments.
This needs a re-think.
* Hannah Meisel at the Daily Line…
Retired federal Magistrate Judge Geraldine Soat Brown, who was appointed special master in the B.H. case in 2018, will be checking in with DCFS, HFS and ACLU at least every two weeks, according to the parties’ agreement, and have deadlines for specific benchmarks for the transition. If Brown decides that the parties have not completed their work by March 15, HFS must announce another delay in implementation on March 16.
State officials said Thursday that IlliniCare has already hired more than 200 care coordinators and operations staff to manage the transition.
While the managed care transition will be delayed two more months for foster children, 18,800 former youth in care — including foster children who have been adopted or young adults under age 26 who aged out of the foster care system — will be transitioned into Medicaid managed care on Feb. 1 as scheduled.
ACLU Director of Institutional Reform Heidi Dalenberg told The Daily Line those young adults and the adoptees and their families had a choice between IlliniCare and other medicaid managed care organizations, whereas children currently in foster care do not.