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Community Behavioral Healthcare Associaton of Illinois

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Posts Tagged ‘Illinois General Assembly’

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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Mental Health Advocates in Springfield, Urge Illinois Lawmakers to Oppose ‘Sweep’ of Mental Health Care Money

Posted by Frank Anselmo on May 16, 2008

(Springfield, IL) — More than 200 mental health advocates came to Springfield on Wednesday asking legislators to forbid Governor Rod Blagojevich from sweeping away existing mental health care money and to ask for more money fund to mental health programs.

Advocates from Stepping Stones and Janet Wattles Center were among 55 people who traveled from Rockford to lobby the Illinois General Assembly.

“The reason we’re here is because treatment works — if we can get it,” said Mark Heyrman, a prominent mental health advocate in Illinois. “In order to have treatment, you have to have money to provide the treatment.”

Heyrman said mental health agencies need the dedicated mental health money to care for thousands of mentally ill individuals and it should not be used to plug a hole in this year’s budget.

The Senate has approved a bill, S.B. 530, to empower the governor to sweep $530 million from dedicated funds into the operating budget. Steve Brown, spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), said, however, the House has no plan to vote on the legislation.

Meanwhile, Frank Anselmo, left, CEO of the Community Behavioral Healthcare Association of Illinois, expressed concern that $10 million appropriated in this year’s budget for mental health care has gone unspent by the state.

But Kelley Quinn, spokeswoman for the governor, said the money is being allocated to agencies.

“Nothing is being held,” she said. “It’s not like it’s just sitting there.”

Quinn said there might have been a delay because the budget for this fiscal year, which ends June 30, was not finalized until last fall.

The money remains in a special account managed by the Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes.

“It’s unspent,” said Anselmo.

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

Number of Illinois Residents Waiting in 2008 for Alcohol, Drug Abuse Treatment Jumps 17%, Report Says

Posted by Frank Anselmo on May 9, 2008

(Springfield, IL) – The estimated number of Illinois residents waiting for alcohol and drug abuse assessment and treatment at state-financed facilities in 2008 rose 17 percent in, according to a report released at a press conference in Springfield on May 1.

The report by the Survey Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago surveyed 106 Illinois community treatment providers in December 2007 and revealed 7,541 people were waiting for some form of treatment, up from 6,467 in March 2007.

“Substance abuse treatment works best when an individual is ready,” said Sara Moscato Howe, above, CEO of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association. “Turning people away at the door is unacceptable and only leads to crises for the person and the community.”

Moscato Howe said the state must invest $41 million this year to provide care to the growing number of untreated Illinois residents, to decrease wait times, and to provide relief to community service providers burdened by escalating expenses.

State Sen. Jeff Schoenberg
(D-Evanston), left, is backing Moscato Howe’s call for additional money. Schoenberg is sponsoring legislation, S.B. 2886, to boost funding by $41 million in this year’s budget.

“Illinois is losing the battle against drug and alcohol abuse by failing to care for those who need treatment,” said Schoenberg. “We must stop the growing number of people forced on to waiting lists. We must be able to provide services for those who need help by adequately funding substance abuse treatment and prevention.”

Across the state, northern Illinois has the most people, 2,168, waiting for care. The fewest, 830, is in southern Illinois. The report also estimated that 595 youth are waiting for treatment. Central Illinois has the most youth waiting for treatment with 182 on waiting lists.

The funding legislation’s fate is uncertain.

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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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