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 w.woodring25@gmail.com.

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.

DSCC Partners with Fowler Bonan Foundation to Offer Back-to-School Shopping Spree for Family in Need

September 16th, 2022

DSCC participant Renesmae poses together with her two little brothers and mom and dad outside Walmart

Fowler Bonan Foundation, a southern Illinois nonprofit, worked with DSCC’s Marion Regional Office to provide shoes and clothing for participant Renesmae and her two younger siblings

Renesmae is an outgoing 5-year-old who loves unicorns. She recently started kindergarten with extra sass and confidence thanks to new unicorn outfits and orthotic shoes for the school year.

Renesmae smiling and sitting in a shopping cart.
Renesmae smiles as she sits in a shopping cart.

Renesmae and her two younger siblings received a free back-to-school shopping spree for these much-needed items and more from the Fowler Bonan Foundation.

Renesmae’s care coordination team from the University of Illinois Chicago’s Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC) partnered with the foundation to make the special shopping trip possible,

“There’s a lot going on. With the kids starting school, we just didn’t know what we were going to do,” her mother, Misty, said during the shopping trip.

“Everyone at DSCC is really nice. They help with rides to the doctors and other things, but we never expected this. I can’t believe we’re shopping! It’s just above and beyond.”

A family in need

Renesmae has been a DSCC participant for most of her life.

“She had viral meningitis and severe seizures when she was 2 months old,” Misty said. “She has partial paralysis on her right side, can’t open her right hand on command or raise that arm very high, and limps or drags her foot when she walks. Thankfully, she hasn’t had any seizures in a while.”

Renesmae also has hypertonia, which makes her muscles stiff and difficult to move, and homonymous hemianopsia, a condition that causes her to see only one side of the visual field of each eye.

Renesmae and her brother, Aries, are standing in the shopping cart next to the check out counter
Aries, left, and Renesmae are excited about school and their new clothes!

Misty describes Renesmae as “outgoing and not one bit shy.”

“She’s my absolute handful and, like the country song says, can be ‘t-r-o-u-b-l-e,’” she said. “She’s also a great big sister and is always doing stuff for her little brothers. She’s such a mother hen to Liam and Aries.”

Liam is an infant, and Aries is 3. Aries is now starting Head Start, a program that promotes school readiness.

Renesmae’s DSCC care coordination team includes Care Coordinator Cheryl Golliher and Program Coordinator Assistant Renee Woodson. They partner with Renesmae’s family to find treatment options, transportation to appointments and other services to help Renesmae thrive.

“The family let me know they needed help getting her orthotic shoes,” Cheryl said. “Renesmae wants to be like every other kid. The shoes look like any other pair of shoes but are different sizes and fit her brace. The shoes are an important part of keeping her focused on positive things, not other distractions.”

As Cheryl and Renee looked for options for Renesmae’s footwear, they learned all three siblings needed new clothes and shoes for the school year.

A local nonprofit ready to help

Our DSCC care coordination teams can help our participant families find community funding opportunities and resources to meet these important needs.

Renesmae's mom helps her try on pink sandels
Renesmae tries on shoes with her mom’s help.

Amy Jones, DSCC Regional Manager for our Olney and Marion offices, and her team contacted the Fowler Bonan Foundation to see if they could help Renesmae’s family. The foundation provides clothing and shoes to low-income children through their Clothes for Southern Illinois Kids initiative.

“They agreed to help buy clothes and shoes for all of the children and asked that we join their volunteers to help the family shop,” Amy said. “We contacted the family and worked with the foundation and our team to get everything set.”

Bobbie Fox is a Fowler Bonan board member who began volunteering with the organization nearly two decades ago.

“My family was new to the area, and I worked as a store manager. Back then I did all the shopping for our families on my lunch break,” Bobbie explained. “Now, more people know about us and that we offer help in 17 counties throughout southern Illinois. We work with local organizations, community businesses, teachers and others to fundraise and make sure that every bit goes out locally to reach our families and help kids.”

 Time to shop

A shot of the group outside the store
From left to right: Jerry with Liam, Misty, Renesmae, Aries, Jimmy, Bobbie and Saylor.

Everyone met at Walmart in Anna on July 20 for the shopping trip. The group included Renesmae’s family – her parents, Misty and Jerry, and little brothers, Liam and Aries – and Bobbie from the foundation and her daughter, Saylor.

Cheryl and Renee were unable to attend. Their teammate Jimmy Baldi, a DSCC Program Coordinator Assistant from the Marion office, volunteered to join the group and help shop.

The first stop was the shoe department. Mom and dad located the right sizes, but the kids had a tough time deciding with so many options to choose from. Renesmae selected Minnie Mouse sandals. Aries went with the Batman sneakers.

“We want to be sure that the kids have shoes and other essentials, such as socks and underwear, in addition to everyday clothes,” Bobbie explained. “The foundation typically provides $100 to $150 for each child to cover these needs.”

A team effort and “win-win for all”

Jimmy Baldi of DSCC helps Renesmae and her family pick out school clothing.

Everyone did their part to help Misty and Jerry feel comfortable and find items the kids needed.

The group took turns hunting for unicorns and superheroes (Aries’ favorite), suggesting styles and finding the right sizes.

Everyone’s efforts were worth it. At the checkout, the kids were happy campers and Misty couldn’t believe they each had five new outfits for school along with plenty of underwear and socks.

Jimmy even snuck in some baby time with Liam.

“I’m really amazed and just so thankful to the foundation and everyone,” Misty said. “These will be hidden away until school starts so that they don’t get messed up.”

As the shopping trip ended, Bobbie exchanged high fives with Renesmae and got a big hug from Aries.

PCA Jimmy Baldi holds baby Liam during the shopping trip
Jimmy holds Renesmae’s little brother, Liam.

“It’s such a joy to be able to do this,” Bobbie said. “The focus on the kids, partnering with other organizations and individuals. It’s a team effort and a win-win for all.”

The Fowler Bonan Foundation also ordered Renesmae’s orthotic shoes.  Jimmy later traveled to the foundation’s headquarters in Harrisburg to pick them up. Cheryl delivered the shoes to the family.

What started as a team effort, ended as a team effort.

“The Foundation is a great resource and so quick to respond to the needs of our families,” said Cheryl. “The shopping trip helped relieve so much stress and worry for the family. It was a great team effort in every sense of the word. I hated to miss the shopping trip, but Jimmy volunteered to go and really loved going.”

We’re thrilled our Marion Regional Office team and the Fowler Bonan Foundation came together to support Renesmae’s family. A big thank you to Fowler Bonan for providing the generous shopping spree!

If you would like to volunteer to help the foundation or know of a family or child in need, please contact them at FowlerBonanFoundation@gmail.com.

You can see more photos from the shopping trip on our Facebook page.

Bobbie Fox of the Fowler Bonan Foundation gives Renesmae a high five after her family’s shopping spree.

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 medicaid.illinois.gov.

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 Works to Continue Paid Licensed Caregiver Option for Families

August 30th, 2022

logo for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

DSCC partners with state and federal agencies to ensure licensed caregivers can be paid nurses for their children beyond the public health emergency

The COVID-19 public health emergency has given families more flexibility to help care for their children with complex medical needs.

One helpful way is allowing parents and legally responsible adults (LRAs) who are licensed nurses to be paid caregivers.

The Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC) is working with our state and federal partners to make this a permanent option through the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Waiver for Medically Fragile, Technology Dependent (MFTD) Children.

The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) is the Medicaid agency responsible for the MFTD waiver. Many families in the Home Care Program have children who receive services through the MFTD waiver.

HFS must renew Illinois’ MFTD waiver every five years. The current waiver will expire on Aug. 31.

DSCC and HFS partnered to collect family input and propose several changes as part of this year’s renewal process. Our proposal included a request for nursing by licensed LRAs to be a permanent MFTD waiver service.

We understand this option is a much-needed benefit for our participant families.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reviewed our proposed changes as part of the waiver approval process.

CMS is now asking for more time to review our request for paid nursing by licensed LRAs. Therefore, nursing by licensed LRAs is currently not part of the approved waiver that will take effect on Sept. 1.

“CMS is aware of the strong advocacy and support of this service from waiver customers, families, UIC (the University of Illinois Chicago), DSCC, and HFS. It is their intention to support the State in this endeavor; however, their review will not be completed by the waiver expiration date,” according to an HFS notice to MFTD waiver families.

You can read the full notice about licensed LRAs and the waiver renewal on the HFS website.

In the meantime, nursing by licensed LRAs remains part of Appendix K. (Appendix K is an emergency coverage document for individuals receiving services through a Medicaid waiver.)

Licensed LRA nursing will therefore continue throughout the public health emergency and six months after it ends. (The public health emergency is currently set to end in October, but this date will likely be pushed back once more.) This option is available for all Home Care participants, including those who do not receive MFTD waiver benefits.

This timeframe will give CMS more time to review and work with DSCC and HFS to approve licensed LRA nursing as a permanent waiver service.

Families can see the approved waiver and review the changes taking effect on Sept. 1.

We will continue partnering with HFS and CMS to help meet our participants’ needs and resolve their concerns. We look forward to more progress in the coming months.

Please note this update about licensed parent caregivers is separate from DSCC and HFS’s other work to expand paid caregiving options for the Home Care Program as part of Illinois’ plans for an increased federal match (FMAP) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

We remain committed to improving support for caregivers of children with medical complexity. We will share updates as available on this additional work.

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!

New Nationwide Three-Digit Mental Health Crisis Number

July 13th, 2022

A dark-skinned woman looking out a window and smiling with text above her that says "988 24/7 Crisis & Support"

Individuals facing mental health crises can call 988 anytime for help and life-saving services

Starting on July 16, a simple three-digit number will connect anyone in the United States to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (also called the Lifeline).

The new 988 dialing code will help people facing mental health crises immediately connect to individuals who are specially trained to respond to such situations. It is available for calls (multiple languages) and text or chat (English only).

The Lifeline is free, confidential and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Lifeline crisis counselors understand what callers are going through and know what local resources might make a difference. Anyone who needs support for a suicidal, mental health and/or substance use crisis may dial 988.

The new 988 number aims to strengthen efforts to transform crisis care nationwide. It will serve as a universal entry point so that no matter where someone lives, they can reach a trained crisis counselor who can help.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five Americans will have a mental illness in any given year.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that in 2020 the United States had one death by suicide about every 11 minutes. Suicide is also a leading cause of death for people ages 10 to 34 years. Additionally, more than 100,000 individuals died from drug overdoses from April 2020 to 2021.

You can learn more about how 988 works and the support it provides on the 988 Frequently Asked Questions page.

This fact sheet also explains the basics about 988. (You can also see the fact sheet in Spanish.)

The current Lifeline phone number of (800) 273-8255 will remain available to people in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, even after 988 is launched. 

Individuals may also continue to text the Crisis Text Line (text HOME to 741741). Both offer free, confidential help around the clock, 365 days a year.

You can also visit our online Resource Directory for more mental health services and support.

DSCC and State Health Department Partner to Improve In-Home Nursing Options for Families

June 16th, 2022

A stethoscope lying on a white cloth

A new licensure process for nursing agencies will help provide more options for children and adults in need of in-home nursing care

The nationwide nursing shortage has affected many Illinois families in need of in-home shift nursing care for their children with complex medical needs.

There is a constant demand for more in-home nursing care options in all parts of the state, both rural and urban.

The University of Illinois Chicago’s Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC) has partnered with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to help meet this need and give families more nursing care options.

DSCC worked with IDPH to change how our enrolled nursing agencies are licensed to serve Illinois counties. Nursing agencies can now be licensed to serve all of Illinois instead of only individual counties.

This change should make it easier for nursing agencies to serve more parts of the state.

Before this change, nursing agencies could only operate within their approved service county area. Nursing agencies had to request approval for each county they wanted to serve.

This process made it difficult for nursing agencies to expand coverage to areas in need. Our participants who receive in-home shift nursing through the Home Care Program could only receive services from nursing agencies licensed for their specific county.

Now all nursing agencies who are licensed and enrolled with DSCC in good standing may serve all Home Care participants in any part of the state.

This broader statewide approach to nursing agency licenses will offer more available nursing options to our participant families.

Please note that each nursing agency must decide if it wants to expand its service area to other parts of the state. This decision is based on nursing staff availability.

We are thankful for IDPH’s partnership to help meet this important need for our participants and their families!

Public Comment Period for MFTD Waiver Updates

June 3rd, 2022

Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services logo

The deadline to share feedback is June 30.

Families have an opportunity to share feedback on proposed updates to the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Waiver for Medically Fragile, Technology Dependent (MFTD) Children.

The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) is the Medicaid agency responsible for the MFTD waiver. Many families in the Home Care Program have children who receive services through the MFTD waiver.

HFS must renew Illinois’ MFTD waiver every five years. HFS and the Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC) have partnered to make several changes as part of this year’s renewal process.

To review the full list of waiver updates, you can:

  • See page 2 of the electronic copy of the proposed renewal application.
  • Review a hard copy at HFS’ offices at:
    • 201 South Grand Ave. E.,
      Springfield, IL 62763
    • 401 S. Clinton
      Chicago, IL 60607

HFS now seeks public input on these changes. (You can read the public comment notice on the HFS website.)

The deadline to provide feedback is June 30.

You can share your feedback in two ways:

  • Via email to HFS.HCBSWaiver@illinois.gov
  • Via mail to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, Attention: Waiver Operations Management, 201 South Grand Ave. E., 2FL, Springfield, IL 62763

HFS will send your comments to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as part of the waiver approval process.

If you have questions, please contact HFS’s Waiver Operations Management Unit at (217) 524-4148 or (844) 528-8444.

Meet Dr. Stephen Bash, Our Medical Advisory Board Chair

May 27th, 2022

Dr. Stephen Bash, DSCC Medical Advisory Board

“The help DSCC provides is more important now than it’s ever been.”

Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC) Medical Advisory Board Chair Dr. Stephen Bash is a “Hoosier” born and raised.

He attended college and medical school at Indiana University. While doing his rotation at Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis, he fell in love with pediatric cardiology.

“I had completed one year of training, but it takes two years to be board certified for pediatric cardiology,” Bash explained. “I had to make a decision to either continue my training or join my dad at his practice.”

Dr. Stephen Bash with his father, Wallace.
Dr. Stephen Bash credits his father, Wallace, for inspiring his love of pediatrics and helping families and their children with special healthcare needs.

He joined the practice and got hands-on experience treating children with many kinds of complex healthcare needs.

Bash was partially trained and was one of only three pediatric cardiologists in the state of Indiana. For 11 years, he referred his patients, who came from multiple states, to the two specialists he had trained with at Riley Children’s Hospital.

Bash was 40 years old when his dad started to retire.

“So, I figured it was time for a new wife, a Porsche or to go back into a training program,” Bash joked. “I kept my wife, never got a Porsche and completed my training to become a board-certified pediatric cardiologist. Most people do it the other way around, but I completed my academic training after being in private practice for more than a decade as a pediatrician.”

Bash, his wife, Patti, and their four children moved to Houston so that he could finish his fellowship requirements and complete an extra year of heart catheterizations at Texas Children’s Hospital.

Where’s Peoria?  

At age 42, Bash was in the job market and fielding offers. Dr. William Albers at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center invited him to Peoria.

“I was invited to visit numerous places around the country. We had Peoria at the bottom of the list,” Bash said. “Patti and I decided we would keep an open mind, look around and talk to people before making our decision. “

Dr. Stephen Bash with his wife, Patti.
Patti and Dr. Stephen Bash

The Bashes toured Peoria and found there was a lot to like. He joined OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, where he helped start the Congenital Heart Clinic and connected with DSCC.

“I initially started with DSCC evaluating and accrediting congenital heart program centers in Illinois,” said Bash. “I quickly realized that these centers of excellence were only one piece and began to connect with the other subspecialists in the state.”

It was Dr. Bash who had the dream of starting the Children’s Hospital of Illinois. The hospital eventually grew from 15 pediatric subspecialists in 1985, when he joined the pediatric cardiology group, to 150 pediatric subspecialists. It also underwent a $283 million project that included building a new facility.

In 1986, as Peoria was taking on this project to grow The Children’s Hospital of Illinois, Dr. Albers stepped down from chairing DSCC’s Medical Advisory Board (MAB). He asked Bash if he would like to join the board.

Bash accepted and has been serving in many ways since.

“I will continue to help”

The MAB is a diverse group of healthcare professionals. Each offers a unique perspective on how DSCC can enhance our care coordination services for children with special healthcare needs.

“Over the years I’ve worked with all kinds of subspecialists. I’ve also seen what the families have to go through,” explained Bash. “DSCC’s (program) is the only one that coordinates care statewide and helps steer these families through a confusing maze of insurance changes, seeing all kinds of specialists and understanding their treatment options. The help DSCC provides is more important now than it’s ever been.”

Knowing the many challenges medically complex children and their families face, Bash has focused on breaking down silos and building lasting connections to improve care.

“I began connecting with other doctors and providers in the state. Just like DSCC covers the entire state, Peoria’s pediatric cardiology clinic outreach is also wide-ranging,” Bash said.

A photo collage of Dr. Stephen Bash with patient Michael Cunningham
A photo collage of Dr. Bash and one of his longtime patients.

“Even if we were competitors, we could still cooperate. For example, OSF could refer transplants to Chicago or St. Louis. Silos don’t work for the families, so creating lasting partnerships to help these families has always been at the forefront.”

Bash said he has always tried to make serving on the board personal because “what you see in a clinic or the hospital isn’t the same as visiting a family in the home.”

“Visiting these families in their homes gave me a much different picture of what they were going through. It was very humbling and not something you will get from your hospital clinic experience. Now, DSCC is there to help these families coordinate care.”

The University of Illinois Board of Trustees appoints DSCC’s Medical Advisory Board members for a three-year term. The MAB membership currently includes pediatric specialists in cardiology, rehabilitation, plastic and reconstructive surgery, neurology and more.

“I am so impressed by our members and all that they do,” Bash emphasized.

“The amazing parent, specialist and staff presentations to the board continue to help us learn about and better understand the different specialties, the many pieces involved in getting and providing care and the ways we can help impact making the services these families need available. We volunteer because we love what we do, and the need is so great.”

Dr. Bash retired from OSF three years ago and continues to enjoy leading the MAB.

“I feel like I’ve lived in the best age of medicine for any physician,” said Bash.

“From the development and mass production of penicillin to the eradication of polio, to the amazing procedures now being done in pediatric cardiology, we’re now doing cardiovascular surgery that I never thought would be possible in such tiny hearts,” he said.

“I’ve had a fabulous career, and DSCC has been an important part of that. There is no question that the needs of these families are very complex. As long as DSCC allows me to, I will continue to help.”

Thank you for your exceptional service, Dr. Bash!

Visit our Medical Advisory Board page to learn more about the MAB and its mission.

Resources and Tips to Promote Good Mental Health

May 23rd, 2022

The words "Mental Health" spelled out with individual letter tiles

Helpful tools and resources for individuals of all ages in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

Society often focuses on physical health rather than mental health, but both are equally important. Mental health plays a big role in our overall well-being.

Although the pandemic’s challenges have led to more conversations about mental health, talking about it can still feel difficult or out of reach.

It’s important to remember that we all face challenges in life that can affect our mental well-being.

Understanding the topic can help us maintain good mental health and be more informed when experiencing a mental health condition or crisis.

Our Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC) team has pulled together a few resources to help get started:

  • Life can be challenging, but every day shouldn’t feel hard or out of our control. A mental health screening at mhascreening.org can help provide a quick snapshot of our personal mental health. The screening is free and anonymous. The screening results can help start a conversation with your primary care provider.
  • Our DSCC Transition Tools include a Mental Health Resources tip sheet with a helpful list of crisis hotlines, service locators, videos and more.

Remember the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 and the Crisis Text Line (text HOME to 741741) are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

A new, nationwide three-digit number will also be available this summer for people facing mental health crises. Starting on July 16, anyone in the United States can call 988 and get connected to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

More mental health resources are available in our online Resource Directory. You can also follow our DSCC Facebook page for more reminders and tips throughout the rest of the month.

Knowing the basics about mental health will help us all feel better prepared when needed.  Support is out there, and recovery is possible.