Speaking out for People with
 Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

IL-ADD: An Open Letter to VOR

Illinois League of Advocates for the Developmentally Disabled

Nov. 2, 2015

We, in Illinois, do not accept the view promoted by ARC, nor our Protection &Advocacy agency (Equip for Equality) and other “community only” advocates, that the significance of the denial of the Preliminary Injunction at Murray Center and our Appeal, is that the State of Illinois can now close Murray Center, nor do we accept their view that the community is a much better option for everyone. 

We never disputed the fact that the State can close any State Operated Developmental Center (SODC) and we recognize that no one has a right to any particular SODC- that is, however, if appropriate alternative services are available.

Our fight in Illinois is about choice, and it is a fight we are winning! 

When we filed our lawsuit, guardians from facilities targeted for closure testified that, under the State Plan, they had not been provided the choices of appropriate care to which they were entitled, including the SODC level of care. Representatives of the State testified that guardians had never been denied all of the choices to which they were entitled. The judge believed the State. Nonetheless, in his ruling on the Preliminary Injunction, Judge Aspen affirmed the right of guardians to choose from appropriate options. Judge Posner, speaking for a three judge panel of the Seventh Circuit in his ruling on our Appeal, affirmed that guardians have the right to choose. The Seventh Circuit held that we did not meet the requirements for a Preliminary Injunction because, with choice clearly protected by law, with the State swearing under oath that choice is being provided, and with no current closure plan, there is no threat of irreparable  harm to the plaintiffs, and therefore, no need for a preliminary injunction.

Whatever the trial court or appellate court opinion on the benefits of community services, they have clearly stated that the choice of placement is the guardian’s. Our case remains active, therefore, if choice is denied in another setting or under another closure plan, we can go back into Court to invoke the clear declaration of our right to choice which both the trial court declared and the appellate court affirmed.

In summary, to date:

•there is no current SODC closure list in Illinois;

•three of the four Centers targeted for closure under former Governor Quinn’s “Rebalancing Initiative” are still open and SODCs are accepting new admissions; 

•one of those Centers is Murray, which Governor Rauner has promised  to keep open; 

•all who testified for the State and sought to implement the “one-size-fits-all” approach that called for all SODC residents to go to community settings lost their positions when Governor Quinn was defeated, but are now  in similar positions in other states;

•hundreds of people with the most severe developmental disabilities who would have been “transitioned” are still in safe SODC placements.   

When viewed in the correct perspective, this is a resounding victory for the Illinois community of guardians of people with developmental disabilities who are served in our SODCs.

Sincerely,

Rita Burke

President - Illinois League of Advocates for the Developmentally Disabled

Bill Choslovsky and Scott Mendel, attorneys who championed choice in Illinois to receive prestigious award

VOR, a national organization who participated as Amicus Curiae in Ligas v. Hamos, offers its congratulations

For Immediate Release, November 8, 2013

Elk Grove Village - Under any circumstance, acts of generosity deserve recognition, especially when it is not sought.

On November 15, Bill Choslovsky and Scott Mendel, two Chicago attorneys who were motived by doing right and not by recognition, will get the honor they deserve.

Both will be receiving the Sister Rosemary Connelly Service Medallion at the annual Misericordia Heart of Mercy Ball for their pro bono legal representation of Misericordia in Ligas v. Hamos, a class action lawsuit that threatened to close private facility homes of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) across Illinois.

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IL-ADD Releases Cost Analysis

The Illinois League of Advocates for the Developmentally Disabled (IL-ADD) has challenged the myth that all persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) can be served for less cost in smaller, unlicensed settings.

On October 13, they released a summary and  detailed cost analysis that considered the actual cost of care for an individual in a state Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF/IID) as compared to what that same individual would cost in a smaller setting. The analysis considered three care scenarios for BRB in a Home and Community-Based Services waiver setting (called "CILAs" in Illlinois).

BRB is a current resident of a state-operated ICFs/IID. BRB is 41 years old, 6' tall, 190 lbs, and healthy. He has a pervasive developmental disorder with borderline intellectual functioning. He is being treated for obsessive/compulsive behaviors which presently involve consuming huge amounts of fluid; interruptions of is O/C behaviors can bring violent responses. He also has a history of life-threatening PICA, however this has been completely extinguished in his present state-operated ICF/IID setting. He is prone to unpredictable explosive physical aggression toward peers, staff and property. He has been expelled from community-based programs.

While very challenging, BRB is not the most challenging among his peers at his ICF/IID; he cannot be dismissed as a uniquely expensive case. For example, he does not present severe medical conditions, seizure activities, sexual aggression, fire-starting, or (at this time) PICA.

Cost Comparison Findings (Summary)

Some closure advocates claim that people can be served in the community for "on average $55,000" per year. In fact, BRB's care would cost: