Public Notice of Intent to Change Categories for The Prioritization of Urgency of Need For Services (Puns) Waiting List

The Illinois Department of Human Services, through the Division of Developmental Disabilities, invites all comments on our proposed change to the categories currently used to place individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities on the PUNS waiting list.

The purposes of the proposed changes are (1) to reduce confusion, (2) to increase transparency, and (3) to make the selection process more predictable for the individuals we serve and their families.

Currently, an individual can be placed into one of three categories on the PUNS list:  Emergency (services needed immediately); Critical (services needed within 1 year); and Planning (services needed in 1 to 5 years).  The Department proposes to change from three categories into two: (1) “Seeking Services” and (2) “Planning for Services”.  Feedback from our stakeholders identified several problems with the three current categories.  First, we have heard that there is a lot of confusion regarding the differences between the “emergency” and “critical” categories, as they sound very similar.  Second, despite the best efforts of the Division of Developmental Disabilities and the Independent Service Coordination Agencies, there were inconsistencies surrounding when an individual should be placed into the “emergency” or “critical” category.  In many cases the designation was more art than science.  Third, because there were certain criteria that received preferences in selection off of the PUNS list other than the length of time an individual was waiting for services, families told us it was very hard to predict and prepare for when their loved ones would be selected.  Under the proposed change, instead of two confusing and competing categories of people seeking services, there will be one.

Now that we have several years of experience selecting individuals from the PUNS list and offering them the opportunity to enter waiver services, we feel that moving to two categories will allow a family to better and more accurately plan for their loved one’s future.  By moving to two categories, individuals will be selected from the “Seeking Services” category by length of time on the PUNS list, where the clock for length of time begins calculating either from initial placement on the PUNS list (if enrollment in PUNS occurred after the individual’s 18th birthday) or from the individual’s 18th birthday (if enrollment in PUNS occurred before the individual’s 18th birthday).   The Division will continue to handle all situations that rise to the crisis level as it currently does, whether an individual is enrolled in PUNS or not. 

Families with loved ones currently on PUNS will not need to do anything.  The Department will make certain everyone currently on the list as either “Emergency” or “Critical” gets moved over to “Seeking Services”.  Those individuals currently in “Planning” will automatically be moved to “Planning for Services.” New individuals who choose to join the PUNS list will be added to the PUNS list by the date of their enrollment.

Please send all comments on this proposed change to DHS.DDDComments@illinois.gov  no later than July 20, 2018.