Roy Gilbert

Lincoln nonprofit loses appeal to preserve group-home clients’ ‘freedom of choice’

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CISA Executive Director Mary McGlauchlen Hide caption It’s uncertain whether a Lincoln-based nonprofit will continue its legal battle to preserve rights for people with developmental disabilities in group homes who want a choice when it comes to which organization advocates on their behalf.

A federal appeals court opted not to rule in October on whether people in group homes — including those in Springfield, Peoria and Rockford — retain their right to choose an “independent service agency” that is different from the one contracted by the state to serve the area in which they live.

Central Illinois Service Access Inc. in Lincoln asked the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to preserve that right. CISA officials said the right was taken away in new contracts awarded by the Illinois Department of Human Services for the oversight of care in group homes.

The contracts took effect July 1.

A panel of three judges from the Chicago-based Court of Appeals on Oct. 23 said they “do not have to decide” the question of whether group-home residents qualify for Medicaid’s federally guaranteed right to choose a “qualified provider” to oversee their care.

The judges wrote in their decision the issue is moot because the judges believed that CISA and two other nonprofits no longer were challenging the denial of a preliminary injunction they originally requested from U.S. District Court judge Richard Mills in Springfield.

A lawyer representing CISA said the agency never dropped its challenge of the preliminary injunction.Mills in June denied the injunction , which would have […]

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