Rosecrance hosted state and local officials a second time this year for a discussion about the need to continue funding local behavioral health services.
The luncheon took place May 11 at the Rosecrance Ware Center in Rockford. In attendance were: Illinois Senators Steve Stadelman and Dave Syverson; Illinois Representatives Brian Stewart, Joe Sosnowski, John Cabello and Litesa Wallace; Joe McGraw, chief judge of the Illinois 17th Judicial Circuit Court; Winnebago County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen and Winnebago County Chief Operating Officer Dave Peterson; and Jeff DiBenedetto, chairman of the Rosecrance Health Network Board of Directors.
Rosecrance President/CEO Philip Eaton spoke briefly about the Northwest Crisis Care System, which is a system of community-based mental health services created to respond to the state’s closure of Singer Mental Health Center in 2012. The system’s goal is to provide better, more cost-effective care for people with mental illness to help keep them out of more expensive emergency rooms, hospitals and jails.
Providers across a nine-county region worked together to create an improved safety net for people with serious mental illness. Rosecrance opened a triage center in 2012 for people in need of immediate evaluation and stabilization for psychiatric crises.
In 2014, triage services moved to the new Rosecrance Mulberry Center in Rockford. The Mulberry Center also houses crisis residential and detoxification beds under one roof for people with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders.
Also in 2014, the relocated Ware Center opened in a bigger facility on North Main Street with better parking and more space to provide adult outpatient mental health services.
Two items that are at risk in Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed budget are:
- Eligibility and Disposition Assessor Grant ($1.48 million), which supports the triage center and emergency room assessments;
- Psychiatric Leadership Grant ($1.2 million), which supports psychiatric services provided at Rosecrance.
“We know these are difficult times in Illinois,” Eaton said. “We know that it’s going to take very hard thinking, well-thought-out decisions that hopefully can last into the future to try to correct some of the issues that we have at hand with our fiscal condition.
“This isn’t as much a Rosecrance issue as it is a larger community issue. We feel that the system we developed post-Singer closing till today is a better system all around.”
Eaton fielded questions from the legislators about how the Mulberry Center is a model for the state and the nation, as well as inquiries about how much money the new system has saved the state and local governments. Rosecrance staff members are researching those dollar amounts so the legislators can better advocate for continued funding with the governor and his staff.