Important Updates on the End of Continuous Medicaid Coverage and Appendix K

March 16th, 2023

"Update" written in white chalk on a blackboard

Key dates to know and an overview of the impact on DSCC participants and families

We are starting to prepare for the end of the public health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve put together important information about how it will affect our Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC) participants and their families.

When the public health emergency took effect in 2020, the federal government allowed continuous Medicaid coverage and flexibilities for individuals receiving services through a Medicaid waiver. The federal government has signaled that the public health emergency will end on May 11, 2023. Please note the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid has not yet confirmed this date in writing.

We want to keep our participants as up-to-date as possible and will let you know if this date changes. In the meantime, we want to explain what changes will occur once the public health emergency and continuous Medicaid enrollment end.

The following sections give an overview of:

  • The end of continuous Medicaid coverage
  • The changes for all DSCC participants and families
  • The impact on those enrolled in the Home Care Program

End of Continuous Medicaid Coverage

When the public health emergency began in 2020, the federal government allowed for continuous Medicaid coverage. This flexibility meant no one would lose Medicaid coverage during this time. The federal government is now ending continuous Medicaid coverage on March 31, 2023.

Starting April 1, Illinois Medicaid must review eligibility for all Medicaid cases. This process is called redetermination. Redetermination is when Medicaid looks to see if you are still eligible. They look at your residency, monthly income and other criteria to decide if you still qualify.

Medicaid will send forms to some members as early as May 2023. They will not complete redetermination on all cases at the same time. They will make the redeterminations over several months. This means that your Medicaid redetermination could happen in May or later this year.

It is important to make sure Medicaid has your current address. You can report your address online at or call (877) 805-5312. We also have a news post with more details about how to update your address. Please watch your mail for letters from Medicaid.

Once you receive your redetermination notice, you will have about a month to respond. Medicaid may ask for more information about your income, residency, or other information. If Medicaid asks for more information and you do not respond, your Medicaid coverage ends. You can return the redetermination in several ways:

  1. Online at using Manage My Case. Manage My Case is the quickest way to complete your redetermination.
  2. By mail.
  3. In person at a local Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) Family Community Resource Center.
  4. By phone.

If you are in a Medicaid managed care plan (MCO), please remember the MCO does not do the redetermination. Medicaid does redetermination reviews. If you do not qualify for Medicaid anymore, your coverage ends. If you are still eligible, you keep your Medicaid coverage.

Don’t risk losing your health insurance. Please update your address with Illinois Medicaid. It’s easy, fast and free:

  • Call (877) 805-5312 from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  • Visit
  • If you use a TTY, call (877) 204-1012.

Please contact your DSCC Care Coordinator if you have questions about Medicaid redetermination.

Changes for All DSCC Program Participants:

  • In-Person Visits: The public health emergency has allowed flexibility for in-person visits. As the public health emergency ends, DSCC must resume all in-person visits by Nov. 11, 2023. Your DSCC Care Coordinator will work with you to schedule your next in-person/home visit.
  • Verbal Signatures: The public health emergency also allowed your Care Coordinator to receive necessary signatures verbally. As the public health emergency ends, we can no longer accept verbal signatures beginning May 11, 2023.

Impact on DSCC Participants in the Home Care Program:

The COVID-19 public health emergency has allowed several flexibilities for those in the Home Care Program in two separate areas:

  • Continuous Medicaid and program enrollment for those found ineligible for services beginning March 1, 2020
  • Appendix K flexibilities (Appendix K is an emergency coverage document for individuals receiving services through a Medicaid waiver.)

The following is important information about how the end of the public health emergency will affect Home Care Program participants.

End of Continued Medicaid and Program Enrollment for Those Found Ineligible for Services:

  • There have been no reductions or loss of eligibility for Home Care participants since March 1, 2020. In 2022, the federal government separated the continuous Medicaid enrollment coverage provision from the public health emergency. As a result, continuous Medicaid coverage will end on March 31, 2023.

    Starting April 1, 2023, DSCC will work with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) to determine eligibility. We will reassess all Home Care Program participants who received a notice of ineligibility for the program since March 1, 2020. If you or your child received a notice of ineligibility for services since then, your services will remain in place until we complete a reassessment. The reassessment will look at your updated and current medical documentation. This includes individuals who appealed and were still deemed ineligible for services. Based on the new reassessment, HFS will send you an updated notice. This notice will state whether you or your child are eligible for Home Care services. Your DSCC Care Coordinator will work with you to complete a reassessment before Sept. 30, 2023.
  • If you or your child received a notice of reduced nursing hours since March 1, 2020, your Care Coordinator will complete the next reassessment of services at your regularly scheduled renewal time. Services will remain in place until this reassessment occurs. After this reassessment, HFS will send you a new notice based on updated and current medical documentation. The notice will list the new level of services.

More Information for Individuals in the Non-Waiver Program (Nursing and Personal Care Services):

  • You will no longer receive Home Care Program nursing services if you or your child turned 21 and are not on the MFTD waiver but still receive nursing. Your nursing services will end on Sept. 30, 2023. Your Care Coordinator will work with you to ensure you, or your child is set with an alternate state waiver, such as the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS), if applicable. If you or your child will turn 21 on or after March 31, 2023, services will end on the date indicated on the current notice of ineligibility.
  • For all non-waiver participants under age 21, you must continue to have Medicaid coverage to receive Home Care services. It is important that you submit the redetermination form from Medicaid to keep your coverage. If you fail to meet Medicaid eligibility or do not respond in time, HFS will cancel your Medicaid case. Your Home Care services will then also end. For more information on the Medicaid redetermination timeline, see the dates above.

Appendix K Flexibilities

Appendix K is an emergency coverage document for individuals receiving services through a Medicaid waiver. Appendix K provisions took effect on March 1, 2020, to give flexibility to Home Care participants. Appendix K is tied to the public health emergency, which is determined by the federal government.

As we noted above, the federal government has indicated the public health emergency will end on May 11, 2023. Appendix K provisions would then continue for six months after the public health emergency ends. Therefore, Appendix K flexibilities will end on Nov. 11, 2023. However, DSCC worked with HFS to make two flexibilities permanent. Here are more details on what will change and what will remain in place:

  • Licensed (RN or LPN) parent/LRA paid caregivers: Parents/legally responsible adults (LRAs), including foster parents, can continue to provide skilled nursing services to their child if they hold an active registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN) license. DSCC sent a separate notice on this provision remaining permanent, which includes details on guidelines. (You can also read our news post on Home Care Program Changes Give Families More Flexibility and Support.)
  • Overtime: Nursing agencies will permanently receive payment for providing overtime hours to Home Care participants. DSCC sent a separate notice on this provision remaining permanent, which includes details on guidelines. (You ou can also read our news post on Home Care Program Changes Give Families More Flexibility and Support.)
  • Additional COVID-19 respite allotment: During the public health emergency, HFS approved an additional 336 hours of respite to use before the regular respite allotment. This additional respite is for all Home Care MFTD waiver participants. Starting Nov. 11, 2023, this additional COVID respite will expire. All respite used after Nov. 11, 2023, will come from the standard respite allotment.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): During the public health emergency, nursing agencies were reimbursed for PPE when actively staffing nurses in the home. The PPE is for the nurses to use while caring for participants. This reimbursement of PPE supplies to the nursing agencies will end on Nov. 11, 2023.
  • Nursing Supervisory Visits: Nursing agencies resumed in-person supervisory visits in November 2020. Effective May 11, 2023, there will be no exceptions allowed to replace in-person supervisory visits.

Please contact your DSCC Care Coordinator at (800) 322-3722 if you have questions or are unsure how this information may impact your family.

We are thankful for your partnership throughout the pandemic and public health emergency. Our team will continue to help support your family and connect you with the right services and resources.

New Health Insurance Education Series Open to All DSCC Families

February 20th, 2023

On the left is a dark blue box with rounded corners with white text that says: Health Insurance Education Series. DSCC's logo is below it. In the upper right and going down the page is a cup of coffee, part of a keyboard and a bright gold pen.

Free virtual training sessions in English and Spanish for Division of Specialized Care for Children participants, their families and all who are interested

Navigating the health insurance maze can be frustrating.

We’ve heard our participant families’ feedback and want to help improve the process.

Please join the University of Illinois Chicago’s Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC) for our new education series on important health insurance topics.

These free, family-focused sessions will help you better understand your coverage and benefits.

Sessions are virtual and open to DSCC participants, their families/caregivers and anyone interested in these topics.

The DSCC Health Insurance Education Series is the result of DSCC families’ questions and suggestions from our Family Advisory Council.

Our Benefits Management and Research (BMR) team will explain a different topic and answer your questions each month. They will present each session in English and in Spanish via Zoom.

Save the date for each session:

Details about each series session are also posted on our Events page.

Each session will be recorded. You can access the recordings and related materials on our Family Education Webinars page.

There is no cost for families to participate.

If you have questions before or after a session, please email or fill out our Contact Us form.

We hope you’ll join us!

Permanent Home Care Program Changes Give Families More Flexibility and Support

February 9th, 2023

Jacob Ortiz, a young Hispanic boy with a tracheostomy, sits in his stroller between his two parents

Paid licensed caregivers and nurse overtime are now permanent options for Home Care families

We have exciting news about long-term changes to the Home Care Program. We have listened to our participant families and made two pandemic-related benefits permanent. These changes can provide continued flexibility and support beyond the public health emergency.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, UIC’s Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC) partnered with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) to address our Home Care families’ needs. Together, we set provisions included in Appendix K. Appendix K is an emergency coverage document for individuals receiving services through a Medicaid waiver.

We continued to partner with HFS to make two provisions permanent for Home Care participants. As a result, nurses can continue to provide overtime. Licensed parents/legally responsible adults (LRAs) can also remain paid nurse caregivers for their children enrolled in Home Care.

Below are more information and guidelines on these new permanent changes.

Licensed (RN or LPN) Parent/LRA Paid Caregivers

Parents or LRAs, including foster parents, can provide skilled nursing services to their children if they hold an active registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN) license.

This approval includes participants enrolled in medically fragile, technology-dependent (MFTD) waiver services and non-waiver services. This approval is for all children approved for Home Care services, regardless of the child’s age.

Guidelines include:

  • The licensed parent/LRA must be a nurse employee of a DSCC-approved nursing agency. The nursing agency sets the number of hours the parent can work each week.
  • Services may begin on the licensed parent/LRA’s hire date.
  • The licensed parent/LRA must meet all nursing agency rules for provider qualifications and training.
  • The licensed parent/LRA can work overtime hours. Overtime is anything over 40 hours a week.
  • The licensed parent/LRA must hold an active RN or LPN license.
  • Licensed parents/LRAs may not provide respite services under the waiver.
  • Licensed parents/LRAs cannot receive reimbursement for nurse training.
  • The total nursing hours may not exceed the approved resource allocation.


Nursing agencies will permanently receive payment for overtime hours to Home Care participants. Overtime hours benefit the participant and family. They also allow nurse caregivers to provide more nursing coverage to participants. The possibility of overtime also incentivizes the nurse caregiver to provide more coverage. Overtime allows nursing agencies to cover more authorized hours while stretching their staffing over fewer nurses. This is especially helpful to families during a time of increased demand for nurses.

Guidelines include:

  • Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, overtime is anything over 40 hours a week.
  • The Nurse Practice Act prohibits working more than 16 hours in a 24-hour period. An eight-hour break between shifts is also mandatory.
  • Overtime is defined as time-and-a-half.
  • Overtime reimbursement comes from the approved resource allocation. The amount billed cannot exceed the HFS-approved resource allocation.
  • Those on the MFTD waiver cannot use overtime when using respite hours.
  • Parents/LRAs who are nurse paid caregivers can work overtime. The parent/LRA is an employee of the nursing agency. The nursing agency determines the number of hours the parent can work each week. The number of hours cannot exceed the approved resource allocation.
  • Nurses can only be eligible for overtime when Medicaid is the payer. When private insurance is the payer, nurses cannot receive overtime pay.

Please contact your DSCC Care Coordinator with any questions or concerns.

We hope these permanent changes will continue to benefit your family.

New Improvements to DSCC Family Surveys

January 24th, 2023

The text "Your Feedback Matters" coming out of a megaphone icon

Updates make it simpler and more convenient for our participant families to share feedback

Our participant families are important to us, and your feedback matters. We’ve updated our family survey process to make it easier for you to share your thoughts about our services.

All participant families receive a series of surveys at certain points in their child’s journey with the Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC). 

We’ve simplified the process so all families will receive our annual survey at the same time. We will also send you fewer surveys throughout the year.  

On Feb. 15,  you will receive our updated annual survey. This survey replaces the questions you previously received on your enrollment anniversary. 

All families will receive this annual survey every February, regardless of enrollment date. 

The survey asks how well DSCC team members are supporting your family and meeting your needs. It also asks about:

  • Your contact preferences
  • How and when you’d like to meet with our team
  • How well our staff communicates with you

How Your Feedback Makes a Difference

Your responses will help us strengthen your services. It also informs our decisions about DSCC policies and procedures that affect your family. 

Our surveys are optional, but we strongly encourage you to share your experiences. We want to ensure we’re doing all we can to help you meet your family’s needs and achieve your goals.

We make it a priority to not only listen to our participant families but to follow up on your ideas and concerns.

Recent and ongoing improvement projects that stem from family feedback include:

  • We are strengthening our financial assistance process to serve families more quickly and efficiently.
  • We are providing more training to our team so they can better explain and share information about state benefits.
  • We will begin hosting a series of free webinars in 2023 for participant families to learn about health insurance plans, Medicaid coverage and more.
  • We created new tip sheets to explain available benefits and services through the Medicaid waiver for those who are medically fragile and technology dependent (MFTD waiver). You can find these tips sheets on our Waiver Services for Home Care Families page.

We also spent 2022 looking at how to make our survey process more convenient for families. These efforts included gathering feedback from our Family Advisory Council.

FAC members shared concerns about the number of surveys families receive. In response, we removed our series of surveys focused on education. Now you can answer just a few questions about your child’s education needs on the annual survey.

You can find a complete list of our surveys on our Family Surveys page.

Please be on the lookout for the new annual survey on Feb. 15.  You will receive this survey either by email or mail, based on your preferences.

If you have questions or need more information, please contact your Care Coordinator.

We appreciate your partnership and look forward to hearing from you!

DSCC Invites Teens to Take Part in New Project to Improve Mental Health Support

December 13th, 2022

A dark-skinned teen girl sits at a desk and smiles at her large computer monitor as she participates in a virtual meeting

The B.E.S.T. research study looks at how care coordination services that include mental health support can benefit teens with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Adolescence can be a challenging time for teens with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

It’s not unusual to feel sad, stressed or overwhelmed.

A new research study opportunity can help teens with IDD learn how to manage these feelings and cope with times of change.

The study is called Behavioral Health Stratified Treatment (B.E.S.T.) to Optimize Transition to Adulthood for Youth With IDD.

The B.E.S.T. study wants to understand if care coordination services that include mental health programming can help teens with IDD live happier and healthier lives.

The study is available for some teens and young adults enrolled with the University of Illinois Chicago’s Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC). Eligible DSCC participants must be enrolled in DSCC’s Core Program or Connect Care Program. (Please note that DSCC teens enrolled in the Home Care Program are not eligible to participate.)

All DSCC participants receive care coordination services. The B.E.S.T. study looks at if it’s more beneficial for DSCC teens to receive care coordination that also includes programs to help with mood and stress.

The B.E.S.T. study is a free and voluntary project. Teens can join the study if:

  • They currently have a DSCC Care Coordinator and are enrolled in DSCC’s Core or Connect Care programs.
  • They are between 13 and 20 years old.
  • They have an intellectual or developmental disability.
  • They can comprehend at a fourth-grade or similar level.
  • They can read and speak English.
  • They have a computer, tablet or smartphone they can use to access the internet.
  • They have permission from their parent, caregiver or guardian (if they are under 18).

The B.E.S.T. study team developed the project with input from a group of B.E.S.T. Study Scholars. These scholars are teenagers with IDD who tested and reviewed all of the B.E.S.T. study materials.

“I loved working on the B.E.S.T. project because I got to share my experiences as a teen with a disability,” B.E.S.T. Study Scholar Erin Compton said. “Sometimes people with disabilities have health problems, but we aren’t going to let that stop us.”

Erin also praised the B.E.S.T. study team, led by Project Director Iulia Mihaila, Ph.D.

“I loved working with Iulia and the team because they respected me and all the other self-advocates on the project as leaders,” she said. “B.E.S.T. has a really good team, and I loved being a part of it.”

Erin’s mom, Diane Compton, said the project is a great opportunity to include the voices of those with disabilities.

“The B.E.S.T. team really excelled at including the voices and experiences of all who worked on the project,” she said. “It gives me such hope for the future that organizations are creating these opportunities for young people.”

Iulia said Erin and all the B.E.S.T. Study Scholars provided “immeasurable value” to the project.

“They gave us direction on how to make our work more relevant to teens with IDD and their families. Our work would not have been as strong without them,” Iulia said.

Teens who join the study will be put into one of two groups:

  • Group A will receive care coordination services as usual from their DSCC Care Coordinator.
  • Group B will receive care coordination services and mental health support from the B.E.S.T. team. This support is based on each teen’s needs and can include:
    • Mental health education
    • Online group sessions
    • Caregiver education and support

The study is a virtual program and should last for two years.

The B.E.S.T. study is a partnership between DSCC and the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System (UI Health), the University of Illinois Chicago’s (UIC) Department of Disability and Human Development and the UIC Department of Pediatrics.

The principal investigators are Dr. Benjamin Van Voorhees and Dr. Kristin Berg.

The B.E.S.T. study team includes mental health professionals from Illinois, California and Massachusetts. They are all working together to find a way to promote the health and well-being of teens with IDD.

You can learn more information for both teens and parents/caregivers on the B.E.S.T. study website.

If you would like to join the study or have questions, please email the B.E.S.T. study team at or call (833) 732-5778.

If you choose to join, you and your family can support research that helps other teens and families.

Teens will have the opportunity to learn helpful coping skills for their moods and emotions. Parents and caregivers can gain information on how to support their teens.

Both parents/caregivers and teens must agree to be in the study. (Note that if a teen is their own legal guardian, they can participate alone or with a parent/caregiver if they choose.)

Those who join will be compensated for their time.

We’re excited to be a part of this important research project!

Chicago Care Coordinator Earns DSCC Merit Award

December 6th, 2022

Portrait of DSCC's 2022 Merit Award Winner David Martinez

David Martinez honored for his dedication to supporting Illinois children with special healthcare needs and their families

David Martinez is the 2022 recipient of the Merit Award from the University of Illinois Chicago’s Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC).

The award recognizes exceptional employees for outstanding dedication and service to Illinois children with special healthcare needs and their families.

David is a Care Coordinator in the Chicago Central Office. In this role, he helps families develop personalized care plans for their children’s unique needs and connects them to the right services and resources.

“David has a remarkable ability to partner with our participant families and empower them to help reach their full potential,” DSCC Executive Director Thomas F. Jerkovitz said. “He works with families from a variety of cultural backgrounds and helps them feel understood and able to navigate the systems involved in their child’s care.”

David’s Chicago teammates say he has a talent for helping families and working “magic” in situations where others might not see a way.

“He is culturally sensitive, proactive and able to put himself in other people’s shoes so that he can better understand their situation and how best to partner with them to find a solution,” said Assistant Director of Research and Practice Initiative and former Chicago Central Regional Manager Patricia Perez.

David is a licensed clinical social worker. He grew up in El Salvador and studied criminal justice after coming to the United States.

He provided substance abuse programs at the Cook County Jail before deciding to pursue social work. This decision stemmed from his desire to help others and make an impact on families as early as possible.

David worked in mental health before joining DSCC in April 2016. He says he is honored to work for DSCC and with his amazing colleagues and managers in the Chicago Central office.

“Building strong relationships with my co-workers and the families we serve energizes me every single day,” David said. “Our families’ needs go beyond just medical. Every day is an opportunity to look at a situation from all different aspects and find a solution that can meet their needs. Sometimes it’s as simple as just listening.”

David said his DSCC career has helped him learn about many different cultures and that care coordination is not one-size-fits-all.

“Meeting the family where they are – that’s my starting point,” David said. “When I’m meeting with families, I tell them we are a team.”

David has helped achieve many successful outcomes for his participant families. In early 2022, he secured a $36,000 grant through the Guaranteed Rate Foundation to purchase and install a vehicle wheelchair lift in a participant family’s van and to make their bathroom wheelchair accessible.

But David says his proudest achievements are the relationships he builds with families.

“It would be impossible for me to deliver my passion in social work without having a relationship with families and open communication,” David said. “To be able to talk to families on a monthly basis and help them navigate through issues in life, that is my biggest accomplishment — having the trust the families place in me and DSCC.”

Our DSCC team nominated a total of 12 of our colleagues for this year’s Merit Award. As the winner, David receives a Merit Award memento, a $2,500 award and recognition from the Executive Director.

The other 2022 nominees are:

  • Melissa Croft, Home Care Enrollment Specialist, Lombard Regional Office
  • Christina “Tina” Glim, Care Coordinator, Mokena Regional Office
  • Kristin Grubb, Administrative Aide, Peoria Regional Office
  • Becky Helmink, Program Coordinator Assistant, Olney Regional Office
  • Paula Holaday, Home Care Quality Improvement Specialist, Peoria Regional Office
  • Marlo Johnson, Human Resources Officer, Central Administrative Office in Springfield
  • Amy Jones, Regional Manager, Olney and Marion Regional Offices
  • Danielle Osburn, Home Care Claims Process Lead, Central Administrative Office in Springfield
  • Elma Saladar, Care Coordinator, Chicago Central
  • Cindy Saxsma, Administrative Aide, Central Administrative Office in Springfield
  • Katherine Serrano, Care Coordinator, Chicago Core

Congratulations, David! And a big thank you to all the nominees for their excellence on behalf of our participants and their families!

Sensory-Friendly Holiday Events Happening Across Illinois

November 22nd, 2022

Santa gives a stack of gifts from DSCC staff to an eager Club Compass student.

Events feature sensitive Santa, holiday lights, craft activities and more!

Are you looking for sensory-friendly events that the whole family can enjoy this holiday season?

There are a number of sensitive Santa opportunities, festivals and other holiday activities going on across Illinois.

Our Special Events page includes a roundup of opportunities designed specifically for youth with disabilities and special healthcare needs.

Here’s a look at some of the special programs available and other event guides for parts of the state:

  • The Secret Sleigh Project coordinates volunteers to provide in-home Santa visits to children who are medically fragile nationwide. See our Secret Sleigh event listing for more details on how to request a visit.
  • The National Federation of the Blind is offering letters from Santa and winter celebration letters in Braille to children who are blind or have low vision. The program is for children 10 years old and younger. Please complete the letter request form by Dec. 17. Letters are available in English or Spanish. If you have any questions, call (410) 659-9314, ext. 2236, or email
  • The Santa Cares program from Autism Speaks and Cherry Hill Programs provides sensory-friendly Santa experiences in Illinois and the St. Louis area on Dec. 4. These visits are free. Keepsake photo packages will be available for purchase. Reservations are required. Visit the Santa Cares website for a complete list of Santa’s stops. Be sure to select “Santa Cares”, “Caring Santa” or “Sensitive Santa” when checking your location. (Note some event dates may vary. Please check your location to confirm your date and time.)

Be sure to check our Special Events page often as we add more holiday activities to the list. If you know of a good sensory-friendly event to share, please email us at

Happy Holidays!

Please note, the University of Illinois Chicago’s Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC) is not involved in the organizing or scheduling of these holiday events. If you have questions about a specific event, please contact the event sponsor or organizer.

Share Your Feedback on the Nursing Allocation Process

October 6th, 2022

The text, "We Want to Hear From You!" in a conversation bubble with the DSCC logo

Help our Family Advisory Council recommend changes that can benefit Home Care Program participants and their families.

The Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC) helps coordinate and monitor in-home nursing for families through the Home Care Program.

The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) determines the number of approved nursing hours after reviewing the individual’s medical reports and medical needs.

Our Family Advisory Council (FAC) now wants to help families better understand the process for how HFS assigns nursing allocations. The FAC also wants to help HFS understand the unique needs and circumstances of Home Care families when deciding nursing allocations.

FAC Advocacy Chair Whitney Woodring is putting together a Nursing Allocation Workgroup to gather feedback on these issues. Whitney’s daughter Willa has received Home Care services since she was a baby. (See Willa’s Family Story for more details.)

Whitney hopes to speak with families across Illinois to learn about their experiences with nursing allocations and the appeal process.

You can email Whitney directly with feedback at

Whitney would like to hear all input, including positive experiences with the process.

Your feedback will help Whitney and the FAC make recommendations for changes that can benefit as many participants as possible.

To learn more about the FAC, visit our Family Advisory Council page. Be sure to also join the FAC’s next open forum meeting on Nov. 10.

Need more information about nursing services and allocations?

Our Nursing Services Tip sheet gives an overview of Medicaid’s nursing services to help families in the Home Care Program take care of their child’s medical needs:

Our Home Care Appeal and Peer-to-Peer Review Tip Sheet explains how the review and determination of medical eligibility for Home Care services work:

You can find these handouts and other helpful information for families on our Home Care Information Hub.

Medicaid Members – Update Your Address

September 12th, 2022

closed mailbox that says, "U.S.. Mail" on the front

Don’t risk missing important paperwork and losing Medicaid coverage

Do you get health insurance through Medicaid?

Be sure your address is up-to-date so you don’t risk losing coverage.

The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) needs every Medicaid member to update their mailing address. This step can ensure you receive important paperwork about your benefits.

Medicaid pays for your health care, like visits to your doctor and your medicine. Updating your address can help you avoid surprises and get critical information about your insurance.

We urge all Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC) participant families who receive Medicaid to make sure their contact information is current.

You can update your address in several easy steps:

  • Call the HFS hotline at (877) 805-5312 from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
  • Contact HFS via TTY at (877) 204-1012
  • Fill out a quick online form at

To keep your Medicaid coverage, be sure to use an address where mail can always reach you.

For instructions in other languages, please visit HFS’ Address Update Messaging Toolkit webpage.

It’s been two years since HFS has asked Medicaid members to update their contact information. As the COVID-19 public health emergency continues, Medicaid members can stay insured without confirming all eligibility requirements.

Plans are underway to eventually end the public health emergency. An exact date is not yet known.

Once the date is set, HFS will mail important information about how to keep your Medicaid coverage.

Please update your address right away. The process is fast, easy and free.

We will share more details about the end of the public health emergency once they are available.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact your DSCC Care Coordinator. You can call our offices at (800) 322-3722.

DSCC Regional Manager Earns Outstanding Field Instructor Award

August 8th, 2022

Amy Jones, Regional Manager of DSCC’s Olney and Marion regional offices, holds her Outstanding Field Instructor Award

UIUC’s School of Social Work recognized Amy Jones for her dedication and excellent learning experience for interns

Sruthi Thinakkal says her internship with the University of Illinois Chicago’s Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC) shaped her as a social worker and taught her the meaning of true teamwork.

Amy Jones, Regional Manager of DSCC’s Olney and Marion regional offices, was an enthusiastic and motivating mentor throughout Sruthi’s experience.

Amy has now received the Outstanding Master of Social Work (MSW) Field Instructor Award for the summer 2021 semester. The honor is from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana’s (UIUC) School of Social Work.

“Receiving this award was such a nice surprise! I’m truly honored but never expected it,” Amy said.

The School of Social Work gives the award during each internship rotation to a field instructor who has provided exceptional teaching/mentoring for their MSW intern.

“Based on Sruthi’s nomination letter, it is apparent that (Amy is) dedicated to providing an excellent learning experience for the students, and the School of Social Work is very appreciative,” MSW Field Director Lindsey Trout said in an email announcing the award.

Sruthi nominated Amy for the award after spending two semesters with DSCC’s Marion and Olney offices in 2021. (You can read more about how Sruthi’s internship provided life-changing experiences and lessons.)

“It had been a little while since I’d submitted the nomination, and I’ve been so busy that I completely forgot,” Sruthi said. “It made me so happy! I could go on and on about how Amy shares information and is always willing to help others. It was such a nice surprise, but I just knew she would win!”

Sruthi now works in Chicago with the Rush Craniofacial Center team. She credits her internship with preparing her for a job she loves.

“I gained so many skills that have directly impacted my career,” Sruthi explained. “DSCC taught me so much about working in tune with families, the grief process, the importance of teamwork and listening, and how a monthly call can make such a difference in helping families feel supported and connected.”

Amy says interns aren’t the only ones who benefit.

“It’s a mix of seasoned and new that brings fresh ideas and different perspectives to the workplace,” Amy said. “It’s exciting to watch their growth and know that they’re building a ‘toolbox’ of skills that will serve them well as they move on in their careers. It’s equally rewarding learning from them along the way.”

The Olney and Marion regional offices have recently welcomed two new interns to their team.

“I’m looking forward to learning as much from them as they will from us,” Amy said. “I enjoy being able to talk about the world of social services and sharing about DSCC but It’s really a team effort. All of us work to partner with our families, to help them know about and connect with the services they need.”

Amy’s award has a place of honor in her office – and in her heart.

“The award isn’t just mine. It’s for all of us.”

Congratulations, Amy, on your well-deserved honor!