January 31, 2020
Theresa Eagleson, Director
Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services
Marc Smith, Director
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
Re: MCO Train Wreck
Dear Directors Smith and Eagleson:
Since I sent my letter this morning, we have continued to be inundated with inquiries from adoptive parents and subsidized guardians about the dump of their children, along with 19,000 other children, into the MCO scheme scheduled to take place tomorrow.
These parents are far more eloquent than I. I’ve reproduced one of the emails we received today to give a flavor of what these parents are going through. It is from a woman who adopted two medically complex children, yet has still not even received a medical card or insurance information for either of them with the transfer scheduled to happen tomorrow:
“I am a DCFS licensed foster parent. I also have been a pediatric registered nurse for 28 yrs. I adopted a now 4yr.old boy from foster care in 2019. He is legally blind with multiple, complex medical and behavioral issues. I also currently have a 2.5yr.old foster daughter; who I will be adopting next week. She was severely abused and shaken multiple times in the first four months of life. She has severe cerebral palsy. She cannot walk or talk, has cortical blindness and cannot swallow so receives tube feedings.
I still do not have medical cards or insurance information for either child. I spoke to IllinicareYouthcare multiple times; last on 1/28/20. They told me they “hoped” information and cards would “start” to be mailed this week. I asked what PCP [primary care physician] was assigned. They said “all children were assigned a random PCP based on zipcode” and that I would need to call and choose a different PCP if desired after 2/1/20. They said they were “offering” six months of continuity of care with out of network providers, but that the providers did not have to accept it.
My children have 9 specialty physicians and 6 therapists providing 10 hrs. of therapy a week. We have 11 prescription medications that are given daily, including a $5,000 per month daily injection from a specialty pharmacy. The uncertainty of all parts of this transition makes me very nervous since my children’s lives depend on medications and that services go without interruption.”
It is alarming that DHFS and IlliniCare have not even started to distribute information and medical cards to many parents, or to assign primary care doctors, even for parents of such medically fragile children. This is unacceptable if the rollout is to happen tomorrow.
Another of the inquiries we received just today is from another adoptive mother who has still not received the medical card for her son. She asks, “Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is supposed to go live tomorrow. How can that be? How can something go live tomorrow and the [children and their parents] don’t even have a card to show at the doctor or hospital?”
This adoptive mother also reports that many people have received cards from a different network than the one they selected and a different primary care provider than they selected. She asks, “What was the point of going online or waiting hours to talk to a representative when you are just going to do what you want anyway? Things are not ready. This change needs to be put off.” She urges that “this drastic move in insurance [be delayed] until everything has been figured and all the foster parents who adopted do not have to scrounge for answers and worry whether our children’s medical needs will be covered as promised to us when we adopted them.”
People who adopt and care for these children are saints. They deserve a medal, not this disgraceful treatment. And their children deserve continuity of their medical care.
If you go forward with this tomorrow, knowing full well of all the problems, you will own this and all of the deleterious consequences that are inevitable.
Charles P. Golbert