-Illinois
4:57 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Measure Would Consolidate State Disability Services

Governor Pat Quinn's administration wants to consolidate nine separate programs that serve people with disabilities. The initiative aims to streamline services. Advocates worry the plan could negatively impact their clients. Josh Evans lobbies on behalf of community-based care centers for people with developmental disabilities. He says the information he's received about the change leaves a lot to be desired.

Credit Brian Mackey / Illinois Public Radio

"The lack of specificity is a big concern when you represent organizations like mine that have seen budget cuts over the last few years, have seen delayed payments, and have been doing their best in a struggling fiscal environment to provide true person-centered supports," Evans said.

Michael Gelder, the governor's senior advisor on healthcare, says centralizing these programs would be more efficient.

"Each of those requires a separate administrative staff and a separate appropriations and a separate provider network and separate contracts and provider agreements, and those can be very wasteful having all that separate administration," Gelder said.

Most of all, though, Gelder says the proposal would improve care for everyone receiving services.

The administration is pushing to move people from large state institutions to smaller, community settings. That policy led to the closure of the Jacksonville Developmental Center in 2012.