Misericordia: Action Required

Dear Misericordia Families:

We are asking you to take action by submitting a comment to the Illinois Department of Human Services regarding proposed rule changes that will prevent campus settings and other types of congregate settings in Illinois from receiving Medicaid waiver funding. These rule changes will not directly affect any of Misericordia’s current homes because its campus homes receive Medicaid funding that is reserved for intermediate care facilities for the developmentally disabled (ICFs) and its off-campus CILA homes meet the requirements of the proposed rule. Nonetheless, the rule changes described below can limit housing options that Misericordia may wish to pursue in the future. In addition, we feel strongly that men and women who wish to live in a campus setting, on a farmstead, or in other types of intentional communities should have that opportunity. Under the proposed rule changes, only small isolated group homes in neighborhoods will be eligible to receive Medicaid waiver funding. We know that for some men and women, these small group homes can be very isolating. Some men and women have behavioral issues that preclude them from living in a small group home in an urban neighborhood; they do much better in the calm of a campus setting or a farm community. If men and women find that they prefer to live in a campus setting, on a farmstead, or in another intentional community with their peers, and if that type of setting best meets their needs, they should have that option. The proposed rule changes take that option away in Illinois. In addition, the proposed rule seeks to impose restrictions on where individuals with disabilities may live that are not imposed on any other group. This is wrong and likely unlawful.

The rule that is being changed is Rule 115 - Standards and Licensure Requirements for Community-Integrated Living Arrangements (CILAs). Our main concern is with Rule 115.310, which governs the geographic location of CILAs. This provision contains the following restrictions:

  • CILAs must be located to avoid concentrating individuals in CILAs in a community or in the same neighborhood. 
  • CILAs must not be located on the same property as a nursing facility or an ICF. 
  • A CILA cannot be next to, across from, immediately behind, or in close proximity to another CILA or a day program. 
  • In a multi-unit building (i.e., an apartment building), no more than 25% of the units can be CILAs. 

These restrictions make it impossible for a campus setting, a farmstead or an intentional community to qualify for Medicaid waiver funding because they all involve a number of homes serving individuals with disabilities located close to each other. The restriction on CILAs in apartment buildings makes it impossible for Misericordia or any other agency to have a CILA that is a two flat or a three flat. In larger apartment buildings, only one-quarter of the units could be used as CILAs while the remaining units must be rented to the general public.

These restrictions are discriminatory. No other group of people are prohibited from living with their peers, if that is what they choose. Imagine the state telling you that you cannot live in a certain neighborhood because there are too many others of your same ethnic group in that neighborhood. Imagine the state telling you that you cannot live in a certain house, because the people in the house next door practice the same religion as you do. Imagine the state telling you that you cannot move into an apartment because there are too many people “of your kind” already living in that apartment building. These restrictions are being imposed only on those with a disability. This is the definition of discrimination based on disability and it is unlawful.

For all of these reasons, we believe it is important for all of our families to submit a comment objecting to these proposed restrictions. COMMENTS MUST BE RECEIVED BY THE STATE BY APRIL 12. Comments should be sent by US Mail to:

Tracie Drew, Chief

Bureau of Administrative Rules and Procedures

Department of Human Services

100 South Grand Avenue East

Harris Building, 3rd Floor

Springfield IL 62762

BECAUSE ONLY MAILED COMMENTS ARE ACCEPTED, PLEASE MAIL YOUR COMMENT WELL IN ADVANCE OF APRIL 12 SO THAT IT IS RECEIVED BY THAT DEADLINE.

To assist you in preparing your comment, I have attached the comment Liz and I intend to submit (MFA Letter 1). Please personalize your comment so that our comments are not identical. Our comment is quite long. Yours does not need to be as long as ours and I have included a sample shorter version as well (MFA Letter 2). I ended up having more to say than I had originally thought.

Thanks for your attention to this important matter. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or comments at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Scott

Scott M. Mendel

K&L Gates LLP

70 W. Madison St.

Suite 3100

Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: 312.807.4252

Mobile: 847.436.4188

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.