CBHA News Weblog

Community Behavioral Healthcare Associaton of Illinois

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Posts Tagged ‘Illinois Budget’

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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Pat Quinn Should Not Sign Illinois Doomsday Budget, Mental Health Advocates Urge

Posted by Frank Anselmo on June 16, 2009

(Springfield, IL) — Governor Pat Quinn should not sign the Illinois Doomsday budget approved by the Illinois General Assembly on May 31, Illinois’ leading mental health advocates today urged.

“Increasing teen suicides, abandoning recovering mothers onto the street, and jailing the mentally ill are the

Frank Anselmo, CEO, CBHA

Frank Anselmo, CEO, CBHA

outcomes that the legislature’s budget offers,” said Frank Anselmo, CEO of the Community Behavioral Healthcare Association of Illinois. Governor Quinn needs to clearly state he won’t sign the ‘Doomsday budget'”.

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

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.

However, Anselmo noted that the legislature’s budget fully funds certain areas of state government operations and programs:

  • All state employee payroll costs, including funds for minimum 4% salary increases for union employees.
  • All Medicaid grants for Physicians, Hospitals and Nursing Homes.
  • All operation costs for public universities and community colleges.  Spending in these areas actually was increased.
  • Elementary and secondary education grants such as general state aid and special education.  Funding in these areas increases from last year.

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–have been meeting regularly to seek solutions to the budget impasse. They meet again tomorrow.

The governor could instruct agencies to continue operating at current levels leaving lawmakers to agree on an income tax increase later this year, Anselmo says.

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.

Posted in Governor Pat Quinn, Illinois Budget, Illinois General Assembly, Illinois Mental Health Care, Illinois Politics, Illinois Substance Abuse Treatment | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

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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Feigenholtz, Winters Push “5¢ a Drink” Illinois Alcohol Tax Hike to Rescue Mental Health Care, Drug Treatment

Posted by Frank Anselmo on May 19, 2009

(Springfield, IL) — Illinois’ leading drug treatment and mental health advocates today unveiled legislation at a Springfield press conference that increases the Illinois’s alcohol tax by 5¢ a drink to help fund state human services and reduce drinking.

State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz

State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago)

The bill, HB 4557, sponsored by State Representatives Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) and Dave Winters (R-Shirland), would raise $254 million for cash-strapped Illinois and boost addiction healthcare services by $140 million and mental health care services by $92 million and the remaining $22 million would be deposited in the state’s general revenue fund—its daily checkbook.

“A nickel-a-drink increase will raise $254 million to help offset the state budget deficit and provide critical investments to addiction healthcare services,” said Sara Moscato Howe, CEO of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association (IADDA).

Frank Anselmo, CEO, CBHA

Frank Anselmo, CEO, CBHA

“Without a financial rescue, without $92 million invested in community mental health care, more than 45,000 will lose mental health services by June 30, 2010 according to our new survey,” said Frank Anselmo, CEO of the Community Behavioral Healthcare Association.

“Illinois’ chronically under funded addiction and mental health care services need dedicated money from an alcohol tax to maintain care and taxpayers need to know their money is being wisely spent,” said Feigenholtz, Chair of the House Human Services Appropriations Committee and a state budget negotiator, who noted Governor Pat Quinn’s budget cuts the programs further.

“Instead of throwing these services a lifeline, Governor Quinn’s budget throws then an anchor,” said

State Rep. Dave Winters (R-Shirland)

State Rep. Dave Winters (R-Shirland)

Feigenholtz.

The nickel-a-drink tax would be applied on wholesale alcohol by the gallon that is distributed as packaged beer, wine, or distilled spirits to stores or as beverages purchased at bars, restaurants, and hotels.

A “drink” is 12 oz of beer (bottle), 5 oz of wine (glass), and 1.5 oz of liquor (1.5 shots). Using this definition, a nickel-a-drink tax would add 30 cents per six-pack of beer, 25 cents per bottle of wine, and 85 cents per 750 ml bottle of liquor.

In addition to funding state addiction prevention, treatment and mental health services, the nickel-a-drink would reduce drinking consumption by five million gallons or 2 percent annually. The estimated drop in consumption would be up to 3.94% for beer and cider, 2.5% for wine, and 6.76% for spirits

State Rep. Naomi Jakobbson (D-Champaign)

State Rep. Naomi Jakobbson (D-Champaign)

“We will reduce the probability of accidents among adults and youth alike,” said Howe.

Howe noted alcohol abuse and drunk driving continue to exact a terrible, deadly toll on youth and children in communities throughout Illinois.

She pointed to the most recent media reports of drug and alcohol-related driving tragedies which reinforce the need for adequate addiction healthcare funding.

  • February 5 Edwardsville, IL – “A wrong-way driver whose license was yanked several times for alcohol-related offenses caused the crash early today that killed two adults and a boy and left an 11-year-old girl hospitalized.
  • February 17 Johnsburg, IL –“Police are investigating who provided alcohol to a 17-year-old Johnsburg High School student who froze to death after a minor car accident last month.
  • February 18 Elgin, IL – “The blood-alcohol level of an Elgin teen who crashed into a house last fall, killing his passenger, was nearly three times the legal limit for driving, police said…

Howe also noted an Illinois Department of Human Services study revealed that in 2006 nearly 40 percent of Illinois 12th graders had ridden in a car with a drunk or high teenager in the last year and 30 percent had the same experience with a drunk or high adult.

Illinois last raised the alcohol tax in 1999 and before that in 1969.

State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago)

State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago)

Joining Feigenholtz as co-sponsors of the legislation are State Representatives: Deborah Mell (D-Chicago),  Greg Harris (D-Chicago), Kathy Ryg (D-Vernon Hills), Esther Golar (D-Chicago), Naomi Jakobbson (D-Champaign).

Advocates are also looking to gain Governor Quinn’s support for the nickel-a-drink tax increase to reverse his initial budget cuts.

Lawmakers are expected to vote on the final state budget by their scheduled May 31 adjournment.

A simple majority of lawmakers is required to pass a budget if voted on or before May 31. If after May 31, a 3/5th super-majority would be needed to approve the annual state spending plan.

Posted in Governor Pat Quinn, Illinois Drug Treatment, Illinois Mental Health Care | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

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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C4 Client Spies Governor Blagojevich Jogging During Impeachment Vote, Joins Him in the Jog–and Plugs Funding for Mental Health Care

Posted by Frank Anselmo on January 21, 2009

(Chicago, IL) — Ayesha McClendon couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw a guy with a shaggy mane of hair running toward her on Lawrence Avenue last Thursday morning in Uptown.

Usually when you see someone running down the sidewalk like that in Uptown, you jump into a vestibule. You start walking in the opposite direction, so you don’t accidentally get hit in the head with a bag full of quarters, or a bullet.

Except the guy McClendon saw was Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was jogging back to Ravenswood Manor around the same time he was getting impeached by Illinois House representatives.

Read More …

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Blagojevich Budget Cuts to Mental Health Care Take Toll on Cicero Community

Posted by Frank Anselmo on January 9, 2009

(Cicero, IL) — Funding cuts imposed by Governor Rod Blagojevich have hit hard the mental health system in Illinois this year, and they are taking a deep toll on the local community in Cicero, Illinois.

“Our waiting list is growing because our resources are shrinking,” said John Morgan, Executive Director of the Family Service and Mental Health Center of Cicero. “Adults and children with serious mental health concerns are waiting longer and longer for care.”

According to Morgan, Sonia, 32, is a perfect example of what is happening in Cicero.

Sonia contacted Family Service in late October seeking counseling due to feelings of uncontrolled anger and depression. She met with the agency’s intake worker at that time and reported an extensive history of physical and sexual abuse. She stated that her mother often blamed her for the sexual abuse which was perpetrated by her step-father throughout her teen years.

Sonia reported that she bottles up all her feelings then explodes in a rage. She has attempted suicide many times throughout her life and continues to have suicidal thoughts, though she denied having any current suicidal plans. Sonia has been treated with medications by her primary care physician in the past, but feels the medications were unhelpful. She has never had any counseling. She came to the agency hoping to see a therapist and was open to the idea of seeing a psychiatrist for an evaluation and trying medications again, if recommended.

However, Sonia is on the agency’s waiting list today. She is one of more than 50 children and adults waiting for someone to answer their call for help.

“It’s painful to turn people away with serious mental health problems, knowing they have nowhere else to turn,” Morgan said. “For some time now, resources have not been adequate to meet the community’s needs for affordable mental health care and the situation is only getting worse. We are now telling those who contact the Center that we will not be able to offer help until well into next year.”

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Advocates Urge Governor Blagojevich to Restore $79 Million for Mental Health Care, Alcohol, Drug Treatment

Posted by Frank Anselmo on November 4, 2008

(Chicago, IL) – During an October 15th rally at the State of Illinois Thompson Center in Chicago, state mental health advocates urged the Governor Rod Blagojevich to restore $79 million to the state’s mental health care and substance abuse treatment budgets.

“It is critical to our state’s health care system that Governor Blagojevich restore the $79 million to alcohol and drug treatment and mental health care that he cut earlier this year,” said Frank Anselmo, CEO, Community Behavioral Healthcare Association of Illinois.

Governor Blagojevich vetoed $63 million for mental health care and addiction treatment on July 9, and in August he administratively cut another $16 million from mental health care. Together the cuts total $79 million.

The Illinois House and Senate recently voted 113-0 and 55-0, respectively, to restore $63 million to state addiction treatment and to mental health care as part of a $219 million supplement budget bill (SB 1103). The legislature did not address the $16 million administratively eliminated.

The Governor has yet to act on the legislation.

“The Governor needs to restore immediately the $63 million approved by the legislature, and he needs to rescind the $16 million administrative cut,” said Anselmo. “There are more than 62,000 people—including thousand of children—around the state losing critical care. He must restore the money.”

Posted in Governor Rod Blagojevich, Illinois Budget, Illinois Drug Treatment, Illinois Mental Health Care, Illinois Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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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Already Cut by $25 Million, Governor Rod Blagojevich Now Threatens to Slash Mental Health Budget by $80 Million More; 62,000 at Risk

Posted by Frank Anselmo on September 18, 2008

(Springfield, IL) – Coming on the heels of a previously announced $25 million cut to the state’s mental health budget, Governor Rod Blagojevich’s Administration is now threatening to eliminate an additional $80 million. The cumulative $105 million cut would toss more than 62,000 people struggling with mental illness out of care, according to state mental health advocates.

“Governor Blagojevich’s Administration had already announced a $25 million cut to mental health, before his aides announced a further $80 million cut,” said Frank Anselmo, CEO of the Community Behavioral Healthcare Association of Illinois. “A loss of $105 million will push more than 62,000 people out of care in Illinois”

“Imagine you are parent of a 11-year old child struggling with mental illness who is threatening to set fire to your home or to kill himself with a knife and you learn you have lost your child’s care,” said Anselmo. “Imagine the parent’s anguish.”

On August 26, The Illinois Department of Human Services announced to community mental health providers in a letter that their state contract is now “…subject to a reduction not to exceed twenty percent (20%) as necessary…”

The newly threatened budget cuts are heaped upon mental health and mental health-relied human services reductions already announced, totaling an additional $125 million:

  • $45 million—Department of Children and Family Services
  • $55 million—Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse
  • $25 million—Division of Mental Health Services

“None of these services for children and families work in isolation from each other,” said Anselmo. “In many cases, they are getting hit with triple whammies by the cuts.”

Anselmo estimates nearly 103,000 people will be losing some form of mental health, substance abuse or foster care across Illinois.

“There is no vulnerable Illinois family reliant upon state care that will go unscathed,” said Anselmo. “It’s hard to get my mind around the loss of so much care to so many fragile families. It’s unprecedented.”

Posted in Governor Rod Blagojevich, Illinois Budget, Illinois Drug Treatment, Illinois Mental Health Care, Illinois Politics | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »