CBHA News Weblog

Community Behavioral Healthcare Associaton of Illinois

Without Financial Rescue, Mental Health Care, Drug Treatment for 16,000 Illinois Residents—9,600 Kids—Will be Eliminated, Survey Says

Posted by Frank Anselmo on April 20, 2009

(Springfield, IL) – Without tapping cash from dormant state health funds and a tax increase to stage a financial rescue, mental health care and drug treatment services will be eliminated for more than 16,000 Illinois residents—of which more than 9,600 are children—by June 30, 2010, according to a new survey of community behavioral health care providers in Illinois.

Frank Anselmo, CEO, CBHA

Frank Anselmo, CEO, CBHA

Advocate Michelle Schneiderheinze discusses the reduced mental health care available to severely mentally ill children in Illinois.

Advocate Michelle Schneiderheinze discusses the reduced mental health care available to severely mentally ill children in Illinois.

Released at a press conference in Springfield today, the survey by the Community Behavioral Healthcare Association of Illinois estimates that community providers—without any increased state funding—will eliminate care for 16,612 people—6,987 adults and 9,625 children between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2010, the end of the state’s next fiscal year.

“The Illinois mental health care and drug treatment system is in a slow motion bankruptcy because of the failure of the state to adequately fund care,” said Frank Anselmo, CEO of the Community Behavioral Healthcare Association of Illinois.

“Without a financial rescue, providers will accelerate the elimination of care and for more than 16,000 Illinois men, women, and children will be without care by June 30, 2010,” said Anselmo. “The risk of teen suicide will rise without any question.”

The survey also reveals that another 29,812 Illinois residents—16,387 adults and 13,425 children—will face a reduction of existing mental health care and drug treatment June 30, 2010 due to state under-funding, according to Anselmo.

Diana Knaebe, President, Heritage Behavioral Health Center, Decatur, spoke at the press conference, noting that possibly 1,000 fewer people in the Macon County area would receive care due to underfunding.

Diana Knaebe, President, Heritage Behavioral Health Center, Decatur, spoke at the press conference, noting that possibly 1,000 fewer people in the Macon County area would receive care due to underfunding.

Advocates are seeking a $93 million financial rescue from the state to staunch the loss of care.

“The loss of care is an ongoing tragedy that can still be avoided if Governor Pat Quinn and lawmakers decide to use the dedicated but dormant money or provide new money from a tax increase,” said Anselmo.

Anselmo says a bi-partisan group of lawmakers are already pushing a plan to avoid the massive loss of care by drawing on the $35.3 million special health and mental health trust funds some of which have languished untapped for more than three years, and additional available federal dollars.

State Senators Jeff Schoenberg, Michael Noland, Dan Kotowski, William Delgado, Kimberly Lightford, Chris Lauzen, John Sullivan,

Chicago Tribune reporter Ray Long poses a question.

Chicago Tribune reporter Ray Long poses a question.

Don Harmon, Maggie Crotty, and David Koehler are sponsoring Senate Joint Resolution 31 that calls on the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget to utilize the available funds from the Mental Health Medicaid Trust Fund to increase Medicaid rates for mental health and drug treatment providers.

“If Governor Quinn and lawmakers stage a $92.8 million financial rescue by drawing on idle mental health care money, available federal funds, or a tax increase, the state can rescue care for the more than 16,000 people,” said Anselmo.

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