In his Feb. 22 budget address, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn announced plans to close Rockford’s Singer Mental Health Center. He did not indicate where residents would be relocated.
Rosecrance Health Network President/CEO Philip W.Eaton has issued a response:
We understand the closing of Singer, and it appears to make sense considering the critical financial condition of the state of Illinois. However, we are concerned about a transition plan for these individuals to proper care or to services in the community.
We learned from the round of hearings last year when the closure idea was first proposed that citizens of this state want appropriate care for this population. The committee that was charged with making the recommendation on closure concluded that the state was not ready with a transition plan.
Now, it is critical that the state and appropriate parties in communities begin making a solid plan to care for this vulnerable population.
We are ready to play a role in creating a transition plan for individuals who need the services that currently are being offered at Singer. We desperately need those services in our community and the ramifications of not having them will be dramatic.
Without appropriate transition services and ongoing community-based care, there is great danger of very vulnerable people falling through the cracks. We can expect more and more people to start showing up in emergency rooms, in the backs of police cars or ambulances.
Other portions of the budget speech announced significant cuts to an array of state programs and services. The state currently owes Rosecrance $9 million for mental health and substance abuse services already given to clients.
Rosecrance Chief Financial Officer John Schuster issued a response to the cuts:
Just Medicaid alone is a significant cut. The governor proposed an 18 percent cut. That would be a cut of about $1.8 million for us. And then he proposed 40 percent cut in mental health grants. How bad that is depends on how it’s implemented, whether it is a mix of rates and eligibility and types of services covered. The bottom line is it hits the most vulnerable people.
The overall impact is difficult to determine right now, but on the face of it, it appears that we would see a reduction of about $3 million in state funding that Rosecrance uses to serve the most vulnerable people.
This is a starting point for our planning, but we still have to see what the Legislature does and how Department of Human Services implements the inevitable reductions.
Eaton and Schuster both were quoted in this Rockford Register Star article on the budget.