Illinois Now Owes Substance Abuse Agencies $46 Million, a 35% Jump in 4 Weeks

(Springfield, IL) – November 10, 2010. The amount of money that the Illinois Department of Human Services owes to community-based substance abuse prevention and treatment agencies has increased from $34 million at the beginning of October to $46 million in November, a 35% increase, according to advocates.

“Payments to providers are drying up,” said Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association CEO Sara Howe. “In October, the state owed $34 million to our prevention and treatment providers. Now it owes $46 million for some bills that stretch back seven months.”

In September, an IADDA survey of its members revealed that the state owed local providers $34 million for fiscal years 2010 and 2011. A follow-up survey conducted earlier this month showed that amount had grown for both budget years to $46 million.

“Our agencies have essentially drained their lines of credit and exhausted their ability to guarantee paychecks to employees who are critical to the state’s critical prevention and treatment system,” said Howe.

The Human Resources Center of Edgar and Clark Counties located in Central Illinois is one of the agencies whose payroll is now in jeopardy. The state owes the agency over $500,000, including $153,000 from last fiscal year.

“Making payroll is touch and go. We do not have any remaining reserves and our line of credit has been exhausted, with no borrowing capacity remaining and no marketable assets to sell,” said Executive Director Ken Polky. “On November 19th we may be forced to choose between paying our employees and paying our vendors.”

Howe warned that unless Governor Pat Quinn and the Illinois Department of Human Services can find money to pay some of its bills, many agencies will be unable to care for thousands of people struggling with addiction to drugs and alcohol.

“Agencies enter into contracts with the state to provide services with the understanding that they will be paid for the services they render,” said Howe. “The state’s failure to pay its bills places communities and the people in need of prevention and treatment services in jeopardy.”

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