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Illinois Doomsday Budget: Governor Quinn Needs to End Illinois Mental Health, Substance Abuse Treatment Cuts – Now

Posted by Frank Anselmo on June 29, 2009

MEMORANDUM

Date:     6/29/09
From     Frank Anselmo, CEO, Community Behavioral Healthcare Association
To:         Jerome Stermer, Chief of Staff, Governor Pat Quinn

Oblivious to the lives at risk, Illinois Department Human Services (DHS) staff are pressuring community mental health providers, repeatedly reminding them to sign the draconian cut contracts they received Monday and Tuesday and return those contracts to DHS before 5:00 pm on June 30, 2009

As service providers remind the state employees that they have until Tuesday to get the Illinois doomsday budget contracts in and–that lives are at stake–the DHS staff keep up the pressure up by saying “we [DHS] hope we’d get them back early”.

This has to stop.

Last Thursday, on the same day DHS said that they have no post July 1, 2009 transition plans, DHS-Division of Mental Heath network managers are sending this “reminder” days after providers received the draconian cuts:

“I have been notified that your FY 10 contract signature page has not yet
been received by the OCA. THE CONTRACT SIGNATURE PAGE MUST BE
RETURNED BY June 30, 2009 or SERVICES MAY NOT BE PERFORMED July 1, 2009.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel to contact me.”

In order to save thousands of lives in Illinois, Governor Quinn should instruct DHS Secretary Carol Adams to immediately issue continuation contracts with no cuts in community mental health funding and substance abuse treatment funding.

This action is easy, can be done quickly and is needed to save lives across the state.

The lack of an Illinois budget, a typical situation for many years, does not have to result in the loss of lives in our communities. Governor Quinn does not have to decree that cost-cutting in our communities must begin immediately.  Continuation contracting is the option while budget negotiations continue.

The discontinuation of community mental health care and substance abuse treatment has already started. And it will snowball. And the snowball quickly morph into an avalanche that buries 160,000 mothers, children and adults in community mental health care and over 60,000 receiving community alcohol and substance recovery treatment to be discontinued.

Community providers have been informed that they can not do business with the state unless their contracts containing cuts from 25 to 100 percent are signed and returned on Tuesday. The Governor’s office has other options. The working poor their children do not.

We have no place to refer these individuals seeking care that contract cuts have triggered:

  • The closure of care to new individuals seeking care by community care providers
  • The termination of care to Illinois’ most vulnerable children, women, men and families
  • The furloughs and layoffs for community care staff

In order to maintain civil discourse, let me close by stating: the draconian contracts were not fair or ethical. If cost cutting needs to be done, I urge Governor Quinn to ensure that whatever “pain” is necessary in terms of cost cutting be shared among all areas of government spending–not for the most vulnerable among us.

Sincerely,

Frank Anselmo, CEO
June 29, 2009

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