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State to resume payments to Early Intervention providers

State Comptroller Leslie Munger at a news conference earlier this year | AP file

Illinois will resume payments to providers of Early Intervention services to developmentally disabled children who had been caught up in the state’s budget battles, a spokesman for Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger said Wednesday.

State officials halted payments July 1 to hundreds of therapists and agencies who work in the Early Intervention program, which serves children from birth to age 3 with developmental delays.

The Early Intervention program had been deemed not covered by federal court orders requiring most of state government to continue operating as normal despite the lack of a budget agreement in Springfield.

But comptroller spokesman Rich Carter said after continued discussions with the Rauner Administration, all sides now agree the program is covered by an existing federal consent decree.

Carter said the comptroller will now make payments due to those who have provided services under the program as soon as the proper paperwork is processed by the state Department of Human Services.

“We’re going to turn these payments around ASAP,” he said.

In a news release, Munger said: “I know the tremendous benefits that Early Intervention services can provide to our delayed and disabled infants and toddlers, and I was extremely concerned when I learned many providers would likely be suspending their vital therapeutic services at the end of this month.”

Providers had been warning that they could no longer keep providing services without being paid.