Weber Says More Time Needed to Get Foster Care Healthcare Transition Right

Today, State Representative Tom Weber (R-Lake Villa) sent a letter to Illinois Governor JB Pritzker and the heads of the Department of Children and Family Services and the Department of Healthcare and Family Services to call for an additional delay to the transition of Illinois youth in care onto Medicaid managed care. While the transition of children in the state’s foster care system from traditional Medicaid to Medicaid managed care was recently pushed back again to April 1, Weber has called for a delay of at least a year to address concerns.

In the letter, Weber stated:

“As I am sure you would agree, the health and well-being our youth in care who are in the charge of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) must be our top priority. While the transition to managed care is intended to improve the healthcare available to these vulnerable children, it is clear that IlliniCare is not yet ready for this responsibility. Serious concerns exist about the provider network needed to meet the specialized care needs of these children.”

As referenced, the major sticking point with the transition of children in the foster care system to Medicaid managed care is the limited provider network. The state’s IlliniCare will be the only provider available. Child welfare advocates have expressed serious concerns about its ability to meet the specialized needs of children of who have experienced trauma, abuse or neglect.

While concerns also exist about the managed care transition for adopted children and those under 26 who have aged out of the foster care system, Weber’s letter pointed to the fact they will have the option of as many as five other managed care provider networks to help ensure greater access to care.

“These children are our responsibility and we must get this transition right,” Weber concluded.

To read the complete letter sent by Weber, it may be downloaded below: