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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Illinois Budget Cuts - Mental Health, Disability Services In Jeopardy For 26,000 Illinoisan Citizens

TY to All for sharing nice article published by the Illinois Observer!

Posted by: IO News Staff on June 24, 2015(Chicago) – The failure of Illinois state leaders to adopt a new budget has prompted service shutdown planning for nearly 26,000 mentally ill adults and children.

“Without a budget or clear direction from state agencies, the consequences will be severe,” Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities (IARF) President and CEO Janet Stover said on Tuesday. “Tens of thousands will lose service, and thousands more will be sent to the unemployment line as these predominately not-for-profit organizations struggle to stay afloat.”

A survey of community service providers by Stover’s trade association estimates that 25,812 individuals with developmental disabilities and/or serious mental illnesses will gradually begin to lose or to experience a reduction in community-based services after July 1 with no fiscal year 2016 state budget in place by June 30.

IARF also estimates employee layoffs will top 5,000.
“Nearly 43% of our ID/DD service provider members and 34% of our mental health provider members have projected they will need to terminate services to clients and lay off staff,” Stover said.

They IARF survey identified five categories where care would be ended or reduced:
  • 3,050 individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities will lose access to or experience reduced services through grant funded programs such as respite, dental services, epilepsy, and the Autism Program of Illinois.
  • 6,669 individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities will lose access to or experience reduced services through Medicaid waiver funded programs, such as group homes, developmental training, and home-based services and supports.
  • 324 adults with severe and profound intellectual/developmental disabilities will lose access to 24-hour active treatment.
  • 7,611 adults with serious mental illnesses will lose access to or experience reduced services through grant funded programs such as psychiatry, care coordination, crisis, supervised, and supported residential services and housing.
  • 906 adults with serious mental illnesses will lose access to or experience reduced evidence-based community mental health Medicaid services and supports.
Meanwhile, Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary James Dimas on Tuesday notified community providers that state contract renewals will be sent out by the end of the week, but not every agency will receive a renewal, contract amounts may be modified, and actual payment will be halted after July 1.

“Some Providers and programs will be issued a CSA (Community Service Agreement) for this year, but some will not,” Dimas wrote in a June 23 letter to providers. “For those that do receive a CSA for this year, the very real possibility remains that either: (i) the amount and availability of the grant will be modified, or (ii) payments to your organization will not begin until the fiscal situation is resolved.”

Dimas also warned that any services provided by those agencies that receive no contract will receive no approval for payment.

“For those organizations or programs with which IDHS is unable to enter into a CSA at this time, no payment will be approved for any activities performed on or after July 1, 2015,” Dimas wrote.

Dimas also gave no hint about when a resolution of the budget stalemate between Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and the Democratic-controlled legislature might be achieved.

“There is a great deal of uncertainty as to both when, and at what amount, funds will be made available for this coming year,” Dimas noted.

Stover, however, warned that the budget uncertainty has forced community providers to begin preparing shutdown plans, plans that are mandated by law.

“These providers are making decisions now on when they will exhaust reserves and lines of credit and when they will need to inform individuals, families, and the state of termination of services and closures,” said Stover. “These decisions are being planned right now, and we see a very clear timeline of the system dismantling.”

In the meantime, Stover is urging the governor and lawmakers to pull back from the brink and adopt a temporary budget.

“It is long past time for the General Assembly and the Governor to Commit to the Community and reach agreement on an FY16 budget that includes revenue to fully fund community-based services and supports,” Stover said. “While negotiations continue, we urge our government leaders to agree on a temporary budget to ensure the catastrophe we have projected will not occur, individuals and families keep their critical services without interruption, and layoffs are prevented.”

While some Democratic lawmakers are open to the idea of a temporary budget, Rauner, who has launched a two-week, $2 million TV Ad campaign attacking House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) over the stalemate, complicating a budget resolution, has dismissed the idea.

Lawmakers return to Springfield next week.
Meanwhile, today, representatives from 30 local community organizations, who are members of the Responsible Budget Coalition, will rally at the Thompson Center on Wednesday morning at 11:15 a.m. to urge the governor and lawmakers to avoid budget cuts and raise taxes to fill the $6 billion budget hole.

Additionally, on Thursday, lawmakers from the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus will hold a rally with community groups at 5071 W. Congress in Chicago highlighting their opposition to Rauner’s proposed budget cuts.


(*Note to Political Insiders: The Illinois Observer also offers our exclusive, subscriber-only e-newsletter – The Insider – to, well, Illinois political insiders. Each Tuesday and Friday at 6:00 a.m. The Insider arrives in e-mail boxes with the choicest Illinois, Cook County, and Chicago political gossip, insider information, and news tips. For more information and a free, 4-week trial subscription to The Insider, please go here).

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