Tuesday, August 14
NASW Illinois Chapter Comments on Colbert v. Quinn Consent Decree Implementation Plan
The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) is managing the Colbert Consent Decree, one of three class-action lawsuits brought against the state of Illinois on behalf of persons with disabilities under the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Olmstead. The Colbert v. Quinn lawsuit was filed on behalf of nursing home residents with disabilities in Cook County. The consent decree was approved in Federal Court on December 20, 2011. The consent decree will provide Medicaid-eligible nursing home residents in Cook County with the array of supports and services that they will need in the most integrated settings appropriate to their needs, including community-based settings. The Colbert Draft Implementation Plan has now been filed and can be found on the Public Involvement area of the HFS Web site. HFS is interested in feedback. The NASW Illinois Chapter submitted the following comments regarding the implementation plan:
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Illinois is pleased that the Colbert Consent Decree Implementation Plan includes a nurse/social work/care coordination team, and understands that the social worker will be licensed in order to provide the behavioral health treatment and supervision that will be needed by members of the class. Social workers bring to care coordination psychosocial expertise in individual, family, and community dynamics. Operating from a person-in-environment perspective, social workers recognize that an individual cannot be understood apart from the multifaceted context of his or her environment. This person in environment perspective is very much in line with the consent decrees' definition of a person centered approach.
Our association feels strongly that social work can play a very important role and fill the qualifications of Section 9.3 of the plan which indicates that the responsibilities of the care coordinator be "well trained in available community resources and possess a skill set representing cross-disciplines." Social workers filling these roles should require a minimum of an LCSW or MSW with two years of experience, or at the least a BSW with five years of care coordination experience. This position will require maturity, diplomacy, and advocacy in addition to all of the other skills possessed by a person well trained and experienced in social work and social service practice if the state expects to meet its targeted transitions. Moreover, the NASW has developed standards to guide social work practice in health care settings, as well as in long term care facilities (http://www.socialworkers.org/practice/default.asp), as well case management credentials for MSW and BSW level social workers (http://www.socialworkers.org/credentials/list.asp).
The NASW Illinois Chapter would look forward to serving as a resource as the implementation plan proceeds.
The full consent decree and implementation plan can be found on the HFS website: http://www2.illinois.gov/hfs/PublicInvolvement/Colbert%20v%20Quinn/Pages/default.aspx.