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Community Behavioral Healthcare Associaton of Illinois

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Quinn Budget Will Eliminate Mental Health Care for 72,000; 9,000 Petition Signatures in Protest Delivered to Governor

Posted by Frank Anselmo on April 22, 2010

Frank Anselmo, CEO, CBHA

(Springfield, IL) – Governor Pat Quinn’s proposed state budget for next year will eliminate basic mental health services for more than 72,000 individuals, including 4,200 children in Illinois next year, according to the state’s own estimates, but mental health advocates have collected more than 9,000 petition signatures demanding restoration of funding.

“Governor Quinn’s proposed budget is telling mental health providers to toss more than 72,000 individuals, including 4,200 children, into the wood chipper. And we won’t do it,” said Frank Anselmo, CEO of the Community Behavioral Healthcare Association, at a press conference in Springfield today.

Hundreds of individuals working to recover from mental illness recently circulated petitions demanding the restoration of mental health care funding and today presented more than 9,000 signatures from Illinois citizens to the offices of Governor Quinn and the four legislative leaders.

According to the budget briefing conducted last month by Illinois Department of Human Service Secretary Michelle Saddler, the state budget for community mental health services decreased $90.7 million from last year. The $90.7 million reduction represents a 23.6% cut which eliminate care for 72,300 individuals currently receiving care across Illinois.

Anselmo offered a statewide breakdown of the loss of care for 72,300 individuals and 4,200 children:

  • 28,197/1,638 children—Chicago
  • 14,460/840—Suburban Cook
  • 8,876/504—Collar Counties
  • 3,616/210—Northwest Illinois
  • 6,507/378—Central Illinois
  • 10,644/630—Southern Illinois

Governor Pat Quinn

Among those losing mental health care, more than 4,000 individuals on the road to recovery will be displaced from existing community-based residential settings, with most transferred into nursing homes.

However, such a transfer would threaten the state’s ability to comply with terms of a proposed consent decree settling a federal lawsuit involving some 4,500 mentally ill nursing home residents, according to Anselmo.

“Simply put, the state is making a promise it cannot keep,” said Anselmo.

In the proposed federal consent decree the state pledges, over the next five years, to reevaluate the treatment currently provided to residents of two dozen nursing homes designated as “institutions for mental illness” and to relocate those wishing to leave those facilities into smaller community-based settings.

“On the one hand,” Anselmo said, “the state proposes to virtually destroy the existing infrastructure, while on the other it vows to expand treatment options.”

“It’s budget madness—and it is a budget that does not work,” said Anselmo. “Governor Quinn and lawmakers need to go back to square one and design a budget that meets needs of residents and the state’s legal promises to a federal court.”

Mark Heyrman, a University of Chicago Law School Professor and Chair of Public Policy for Mental Health America of Illinois, agreed that the budget proposal seemed to contradict the promises made in the proposed consent decree.

“What the state pledges to do in the consent decree, its FY 2011 budget proposal will undo and deliver the exact opposite result.”

“In the coming weeks, our plea is for the Illinois General Assembly to reshape the state budget proposal in order to avoid a $90 million cut to mental health services and to approve legislation, HB 5326, that creates a plan to move mentally ill from nursing homes into community settings,” said Anselmo.

“Reversal of the $90 million cut will rescue care for more than 70,000 people and help 4,500 individuals leave nursing homes for more appropriate community settings.”


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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


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
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.


Frank Anselmo, CEO
June 29, 2009

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Pat Quinn to Get Budget that Eliminates Mental Health Care for 175,000 Illinois Residents – Maybe

Posted by Frank Anselmo on June 2, 2009

(Springfield, IL) — The Illinois General Assembly approved a doomsday budget on May 31.

The legislature appropriated only 50% of last year’s budget to state department for the coming fiscal year that begins on July 1.

Governor Pat Quinn

Governor Pat Quinn

As a result, the new budget guts human services, including mental health care and substance abuse treatment.

  • 175,000 people will lose community mental health services, dramatically increasing homelessness, institutionalization and incarceration rates.
  • 65,000 people with alcohol and substance addictions will lose treatment.

Governor Pat Quinn and top legislative leaders–House Speaker Michael Madigan, House Minority Leader Tom Cross, Senate President John Cullerton, and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno–emerged from their meeting on Monday and announced they plan to hold more meetings on Thursday. They gave non-specific responses to questions about solutions to the budget impasse.

Governor Quinn said:

  • He would not sign the 50% GRF spending plan passed by lawmakers (at this time).
  • Social service providers would be notified later of “the possible consequences” of 50% funding.
  • He didn’t rule out signing the $30 billion capital bill–he had earlier said his signature was linked to passage of a balanced budget.
  • The “whole idea” of future meetings was to reach a balanced budget.

None of the legislative leaders said there was a time-line.  The governor could instruct agencies to continue operating at current levels leaving lawmakers to agree on an income tax increase later this year.

Leaders Radogno and Cross have said reforms and more cuts need to be agreed to before raising taxes.

At the moment, the doomsday budget (50% GRF in a lump sum for state departments) will not be sent to the Governor.  President Cullerton filed a motion to reconsider the vote on Senate Bill 1197–the budget bill, and Cullertons’ motion prevents the bill from being sent to the Governor at this time.

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C4’s Parenting Program Wins $50,000 Grant from the Chicago Community Trust

Posted by Frank Anselmo on February 17, 2009

(Chicago, IL) — Community Counseling Centers of Chicago (C4) has been awarded a $50,000 grant from The Chicago Community Trust to complete a far-ranging efficacy study of its Parenting Education Program. (PEP).

Launched in 1996, the bi-lingual program to strengthen families and prevent child abuse has reached more than 4,000 low-income Chicago families. Offering parenting education classes, home visits, and other services, the program reaches urban parents by using teaching strategies and materials that are culturally and linguistically sensitive.

C4 launched the three-phased study supported by the Trust as a step toward becoming a national model.

“We know that our program has been successful in teaching effective parenting skills, but we wanted to demonstrate a scientific link between the program and its impact on actual parenting practices and benefit to children,” observes Katharine Bensinger, program founder and supervisor.

The Trust’s 2009 grant will fund the final interview phase, data analysis, and dissemination of findings, which will be submitted to three national best-practice bodies, including the national Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

“Completing the study is the first step toward becoming a national model,” explains Bensinger, who said she plans to develop curriculum training materials and work with other Illinois organizations to implement PEP.

The most recent award marks the second $50,000 grant from the Trust in support of the program’s efficacy study.

With assets of $1.8 billion, the Chicago Community Trust made a record-breaking $114 million in grants in 2007. From strengthening community schools to assisting art programs, from building health centers to helping lives affected by violence, the Trust works to enhance our region.

PEP is among several services offered by Community Counseling Centers of Chicago, a community mental health agency which serves more than 9,000 low-income men, women and children every year.

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IL Senate Oks Restoration of $63 Million for Drug Treatment, Mental Health; Advocates Urge Governor Blagojevich to Sign Legislation

Posted by Frank Anselmo on September 24, 2008

(Springfield, IL) – The Illinois Senate yesterday voted to restore $55 million to the state’s alcohol and drug treatment budget and $8 million to mental health care which had been originally vetoed by Governor Rod Blagojevich.

The Senate voted, 55-0, to restore the $63 million to state addiction treatment services and mental health care to halt the elimination of care for 42,000 across Illinois as part of $219 million supplement budget bill (SB 1103) to restore other state programs and services also vetoed by the Governor.

The House voted, 113-3, last week to restore the money.

“The Governor should the approve the funding immediately to halt the on-going elimination of care across the state,” said Frank Anselmo, CEO, Community Behavioral Healthcare Association of Illinois.

On July 9, Blagojevich cut $55 million from addiction treatment services and also line-item vetoed money from specific programs:  victims of domestic violence, women returning from incarceration, youth treatment, youth in the court system, and women receiving federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families who require treatment to be employed.

The legislation now goes to the Governor’s desk for approval.

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Illinois Residents’ Trust in State Government Whithers, New Poll Says

Posted by Frank Anselmo on June 24, 2008

(Chicago, IL) — The 2008 Midwest Political Reform Survey reveals that Illinois residents’ distrust in state government has risen since 2006.

At the same time, many continue to hold an abiding faith in the ability to change state government to be less influenced by moneyed interests and more responsive and accountable to constituents.

A large majority (80%) expresses personal interest in an organization that works toward making state government work better by being more honest and accountable and over half of Illinois residents (57%) are extremely interested.

The 2008 Belden Russonello & Stewart telephone survey for the Midwest Democracy Network randomly sampled adults in five Midwestern states (Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin) on attitudes toward government and political reform.

The survey was funded by the Joyce Foundation.


1. Distrust in the Illinois state government has risen sharply over the last two years. A large majority (77%) says they only trust the state government “some of the time” or “almost never.” Concerns about corruption in state government and the influence of money in state politics are second only to gas prices as concerns in the minds of Illinois residents.

2. Although they have little faith in state government, Illinoisans still believe reform efforts are worthwhile. Majorities believe it is “worth getting money out of politics” and reject the idea that corruption will always be present in state government.

3. Strong support exists for a range of reform efforts. Over three-quarters of Illinoisans believe each of the reforms tested in the survey will make a difference in helping state government work better.

4. Personal interest in government reform issues is high among residents of Illinois. Illinois residents are the most likely of all the Midwestern residents surveyed to be “extremely interested” in an organization working to create “a more honest, accountable, and responsive government” (80%). Over six in ten (62%) are more interested in a political candidate who believes it may not be possible to improve education, create jobs, and cut taxes without first reducing the role of money in politics and the influence of lobbyists, than in a candidate who focuses solely on the issues (34%).

5. As we found in 2006, the top goals that Illinoisans would like to see the state government achieve are honesty and accountability to voters.

In Illinois 402 interviews were conducted by telephone April 21 through May 4, 2008. The margin of sampling error for the Illinois survey is plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

What’s your opinion?

How much do you trust Illinois state government to work honestly?
( polls)

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U.S. Grants Grants $50 Million to 20 States to Ease Access to Primary Medical Care; Illinois Gets $2 Million, Mental Health Providers to be Partners

Posted by Frank Anselmo on May 13, 2008

(Washington, D.C.) — Grants of $50 million to 20 states to help improve access to primary medical care so that Medicaid beneficiaries could avoid improper use of costly hospital emergency rooms was announced on April 18 by U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Illinois will receive a two-year $2,006,000 grant for the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services for an Emergency Room Diversion program that will locate new Community Health Center sites on or near hospital campuses and partners with Illinois mental health providers.

“These grants provide new programs and services to help people get the non-emergency care they need in the most appropriate setting,” CMS Acting Administrator Kerry Weems said.

These grants will help Medicaid programs fund local and rural initiatives to provide alternative health care settings for individuals with non-emergency medical needs

The first award of $26 million will fund 29 programs in 20 states, including Illinois. The remaining $24 million will be available to grantees in 2009.

Grantees will use the funds to:

  • Establish new community health centers;
  • Extend the hours of operation at existing clinics;
  • Educate beneficiaries about new services; and
  • Provide for electronic health information exchange between facilities for better coordination of care.

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New State Campaign Encourges Good Mental Health

Posted by Frank Anselmo on May 2, 2008

(Chicago, IL) — With data suggesting that one in five Illinois residents is experiencing a mental health challenge at any one time, a new public education campaign has been launched to promote good mental health.

The new statewide “Say it Out Loud” campaign is jointly sponsored by the State of Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health, and the Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership, a network of more than 30 organizations across the state.

The campaign was unveiled on May 1 at a rally on Chicago’s Navy Pier as the state began its annual observance of Mental Health Awareness Month.

Data shows 70-90 percent of mental health diagnoses are treatable, but that fewer than half of the people actually seek treatment.

The campaign is using the stories of real people in advertisements being distributed to newspapers and radio stations in the state, and through videos featured on the campaign’s new Web site, http://www.mentalhealthillinois.org.

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New Study Ranks Illinois 51st in U.S. for Developmental Disabilities Funding; NAMI Grades Illinois “F” for Mental Health Service Access

Posted by Frank Anselmo on May 2, 2008

(Springfield, IL) — A new report–2008 State of the States in Developmental Disabilities–ranks Illinois 51st in the United States in funding for community residential DD services.

Illinois ranked behind the District of Columbia.

In addition, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) has once again given Illinois an ‘F’ for its lack of funding to ensure access to community MH services.

At a Springfield press conference on April 30, Janet Stover, Executive Director of the Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities said, “An investment of $300-$400 million is projected for community DD and MH services to begin to address the needs in the community system and to help Illinois move away from its 51st and failing status nationally.”

According to the University of Illinois Rate Study, commissioned by the General Assembly, the community services system is underfunded by as much as 25%. Meanwhile. a report commissioned by the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities, suggests the DD system needs at least $200 – $250 million to bring Illinois to mid-point among resource investment made by states nationally.

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