The Honorable Alexander R. Acosta
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20210

May 21, 2018

Dear Secretary Acosta:

We are writing about the critically important issue of preserving employment and job training opportunities for hundreds of thousands of Americans with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  For over 80 years, Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act has played an essential role in providing employment and training opportunities to men and women with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Together for Choice issued its first newsletter summarizing its accomplishments over the past year. Please click on this link to read the newsletter: 

U.S. Representatives Bobby Rush & Raja Krishnamoorthi 

Misericordia is involved in an effort to change federal law and regulations so that they recognize the individual’s right to choose where to live and spend his or her days.  

Last Friday, the Plaintiffs and Intervenors filed a joint motion in federal court asking the Court to find that Illinois has failed to comply with the Ligas Consent Decree.

Earlier this week, the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives revealed its plan for the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act. Included in the plan is a proposal to significantly change the federal government’s role in funding Medicaid.  

As I mentioned last week, Illinois decided not to subject Misericordia’s Developmental Training Program to “heightened scrutiny.”

At our MFA meeting last Sunday, Geana Connelly mentioned that she and Mike Diaz attended the ACCSES conference in Savannah, Georgia. ACCSES is a network of over 1,200 organizations, including Misericordia, which seeks to expand choice for individuals with disabilities. 

This week, Misericordia won a very important victory. As a result of comments filed by the families of our CILA residents and the important help of Misericordia board member Phil O’Connor,

The recent series of articles in the Chicago Tribune regarding group homes in Illinois has made clear that the direct care staff (DSPs) at ICF/DDs and CILAs are significantly underpaid.
I thank all the families that have submitted comments to the Department of Developmental Disabilities regarding its Draft Information Bulletin on receiving health care and other services in the community.  It is extremely important that the Department understand the impact its proposed policy would have on our family members.  The Medical Director at Misericordia, Dr. Chicoine, also submitted an excellent comment, providing the Department with the perspective of an expert in providing health care services to individuals with developmental disabilities.  You can read his comment by clicking here.