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State agrees to delay forcing foster kids into managed care

Friday, Jan 17, 2020

* 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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Earnest - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 10:21 am:

    Lawsuits and consent decrees are the only things that move the needle in the Illinois human service system. Without, things would be even worse than they are now.

  2. - Stuff Happens - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 12:27 pm:

    As someone working with both former youth in care and current youth in care, I agree that the whole thing was a disaster.

    Not rolling things back for children adopted from care is a terrible mistake, though. So many children have lost access to services because their providers aren’t in their new plan.

    Heidi Dalenberg was right that those families had a choice, but it was a choice between retaining a doctor or retaining a therapist. In many cases, computer glitches forced people into making a choice they didn’t want.

    Hopefully they’ll recognize this and and do what’s right for these children.

  3. - Almost retired - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 12:59 pm:

    As a parent with an adult with brain injury the transfer of Medicaid waiver services from private not for profits and DORS offices in July 1 to manage care has lead to less contact and less services but the MCO collects a monthly payment no matter what it does. From reviewing, MCO performances as an evaluator for certain populations through the last six to eight years, the data shows that overall Illinicare’s performance is very poor. Also, how does the recent sale of Illinois Illinicare impact this. HFS thinks manage care companies actually manage medical care. They don’t. MCOs manage money not care. HFS has no system and not enough staff to enforce contract stipulations for MCO performance. MCO’s mission is to make owners and or stockholder money. This would not be good for foster kids and foster parents.

  4. - GADawg - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 1:53 pm:

    I’ll second “Almost retired”. The MCO process overall has been a disaster. Find one provider or one client who thinks it has led to better services. As one colleague has put it, MCO does not stand for Managed Care, it stands for Managed Cost. And if the MCO fails to pay for a needed service, it saves itself money.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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