SB0955 EngrossedLRB100 09548 RLC 19714 b

1    AN ACT concerning care for persons with developmental
2disabilities, which may be referred to as the Community
3Disability Living Wage Act.
4    WHEREAS, An estimated 27,000 children and adults with
5intellectual and developmental disabilities are supported in
6community-based settings in Illinois; direct support persons
7(DSPs) are trained paraprofessional staff that are engaged in
8activities of daily living and community support; these
9employees earn wages that place them and their families below
10the poverty level; and
11    WHEREAS, According to the most recent Illinois industry
12surveys, the average DSP wage in Illinois is $9.35 per hour
13which is 26% below the U.S. Department of Health and Human
14Services poverty threshold of $11.83 for a family of 4 and one
15out of every four DSP jobs in provider agencies are going
16unfilled, with 34% of DSPs working in residential programs
17having been with the service provider for less than a year; low
18wages often compel DSPs to work many overtime hours or hold
19down a second job to support their families; research by the
20American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR),
21inclusive of Illinois, reveals 56% of DSPs rely on public
22assistance to make ends meet, creating additional expenditures
23for State government; low wages are a consequence of the
24historically low reimbursement rates paid by the State of
25Illinois to community-based service providers; over the last 9



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1fiscal years, there has been no increase in State funding to
2these agencies; by contrast, the Consumer Price Index increased
316% over the same period; and
4    WHEREAS, The lack of adequate wages for employees who
5perform the challenging work of supporting persons with
6intellectual and developmental disabilities results in high
7employee turnover, which in turn negatively impacts the quality
8of services provided, as described in the recent Chicago
9Tribune series; higher wages are proven to reduce staff
10turnover, improving stability and quality of services while
11reducing employer training costs; and
12    WHEREAS, Rising wages in several other sectors now mean,
13despite strenuous efforts to recruit new workers, agencies are
14experiencing staff vacancy rates of up to 25%; excessive
15vacancies force employers to rely more on overtime, leading to
16staff burnout and driving up costs; for the second year in a
17row the federal court monitor documented how this growing
18hiring crisis impedes the ability of community disability
19agencies to expand to accommodate persons newly approved for
20services as part of the Ligas Consent Decree; and
21    WHEREAS, The General Assembly finds that in order to reduce
22turnover, increase retention, fill vacancies, and ensure DSPs
23are adequately compensated for the critically important work



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1they do, an increase in rates and reimbursements to
2community-based service providers to effectuate an increase in
3the hourly wage paid to DSPs is needed; and
4    WHEREAS, It is the purpose of this amendatory Act to
5increase the wages of DSPs in community disability agencies
6beyond the poverty level and to a level competitive with rival
7employers, in an effort to improve the lives of DSPs and the
8lives of the vulnerable persons they support; therefore
9    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
10represented in the General Assembly:
11    Section 5. The Mental Health and Developmental
12Disabilities Administrative Act is amended by adding Section
1355.5 as follows:
14    (20 ILCS 1705/55.5 new)
15    Sec. 55.5. Increased wages for front-line personnel. The
16Department shall establish reimbursement rates which build
17toward livable wages for front-line personnel in residential
18and day programs and service coordination agencies serving
19persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities under
20Section 54 of this Act, including, but not limited to,
21intermediate care facilities for persons with developmental
22disabilities, community-integrated living arrangements,



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1developmental training programs, employment, and other
2residential and day programs for persons with intellectual and
3developmental disabilities supported by State funds or funding
4under Title XIX of the federal Social Security Act.
5    As used in this Section, "front-line personnel" means
6direct support persons, aides, front-line supervisors,
7qualified intellectual disabilities professionals, nurses, and
8non-administrative support staff working in service settings
9outlined in this Section. The Department shall increase rates
10and reimbursements so that direct support persons earn a base
11wage of not less than $15 per hour and so that other front-line
12personnel earn a commensurate wage.
13    Section 10. The Illinois Public Aid Code is amended by
14adding Section 5-5.4i as follows:
15    (305 ILCS 5/5-5.4i new)
16    Sec. 5-5.4i. Increased wages for front-line personnel. As
17used in this Section, "front-line personnel" means direct
18support persons, aides, front-line supervisors, qualified
19intellectual disabilities professionals, nurses, and
20non-administrative support staff working in service settings
21outlined in this Section.
22    Under Section 55.5 of the Mental Health and Developmental
23Disabilities Administrative Act, the payment rate for all
24facilities licensed by the Department of Public Health under



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1the ID/DD Community Care Act as intermediate care for the
2developmentally disabled facilities and under the MC/DD Act as
3medically complex for the developmentally disabled facilities
4shall be increased to fund rates and reimbursements so that
5direct support persons earn a base wage of not less than $15
6per hour and so that other front-line personnel earn a
7commensurate wage.
8    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
9becoming law.