RAMP to implement statewide program that provides training to people with significant disabilities

Online Staff Report

Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living (INCIL) has rolled out a statewide program that will provide training to people with significant disabilities who are newly enrolled in the Home Services Program (HSP).

The training program, coordinated by INCIL, will be conducted by Centers for Independent Living (CILs) throughout the state. RAMP, a local CIL, has trained staff ready to provide one-on-one training to consumers in their home. RAMP provides services and advocacy to people with disabilities from offices in Boone, DeKalb, Stephenson and Winnebago counties.

HSP is a program of the Department of Human Services Division of Rehabilitation Services, which allows eligible people with disabilities, who might otherwise be placed in nursing homes, to live in their own homes and hire Personal Assistants (PAs) to provide the services they need. Such services can range from cleaning, cooking and doing laundry, to assistance of a more personal nature, such as bathing, grooming and dressing.

The services provided — and the number of hours a PA works each day — are specified in a service plan developed after the consumer has been assessed for the program. Once the consumer’s eligibility has been determined and the service plan developed, the consumer may recruit PAs of his/her choice. The PA wages are paid by the state. It is estimated that these services cost the state about one-third the cost of nursing home services.

This unique program provides freedom and dignity to nearly 30,000 individuals with disabilities throughout Illinois by allowing them to live in their own homes and reach their dreams of independence. The training was developed to assist consumers in developing skills to manage their relationships with their PAs, and to safeguard against fraud in the program.

The INCIL program will provide training to each new consumer on an individual basis. The curriculum will cover recruiting, interviewing and hiring PAs, and extensive information about how to recognize and avoid fraud, abuse and neglect. Because this is a Medicaid waiver program, these issues are extremely important. Upon completion of a training, RAMP will provide the consumer with reference material and contact information so RAMP can continue to be a resource to the consumer.

INCIL is contracting with IDHS to provide these trainings. They represent one part of an effort to assure that this important program meets the needs of consumers in a professional way that protects the rights of consumers and taxpayer dollars. In addition to this, an array of trainings for PAs has been developed, including mandatory orientations for all new PAs. INCIL partners with SEIU, the union representing PAs, to provide training to current and new PAs.

For more about the PA Program or the Consumer Training, contact Jackie Sundquist, RAMP services director, at (815) 968-7467 or jsundquist@rampcil.org.

RAMP is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) that is a passionate partner for people with disabilities desiring to live a useful and rewarding life. RAMP empowers people with disabilities to realize there are no limits to what they can do. This is accomplished by assisting them to live independently, make changes in their lives, seek peer support, obtain resources and remove barriers that threaten their dreams of independence.

RAMP advocates the implementation of current laws, promotion of needed legislation and improvement of existing systems for people with disabilities while working to diminish negative attitudes that threaten to impede equal access.

RAMP advocates for and serves people with disabilities out of four offices in Boone, DeKalb, Stephenson and Winnebago counties. RAMP is a United Way Member Agency.

Posted June 6, 2014

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