Illinois Budget Crisis: SchuyIer County Mental Health Center in Danger of Closing by June 1

(Rushville, IL) – As the Illinois legislature struggles to craft a budget by its May 31 adjournment deadline, the Schuyler County Mental Health Center is adding itself to the list of behavioral health centers across the state that is in danger of closing within the next 10 days.

“We have been waiting for multiple payments from the State of Illinois for multiple months and have been unable to consistently meet payroll,” said Executive Director Trent Chockley. “And we’re not only waiting for payment for mental health and substance abuse treatment services, but we also have unpaid bills from the Illinois Department on Aging.”

The agency provides services to nearly 60 people, over the age of 60, every month and the state owes Schuyler a total of $64,000 for just the services provided under the Illinois Department on Aging’s Community Care Program.

“The State of Illinois continues to add deserving clients to their list that we need to serve, but has no willingness to pay the bills,” said Chockley. “We are dangerously close to shutting our doors for good without payment by June 1.”

A top behavioral health advocate group warned lawmakers and Governor Bruce Rauner that the collapse of the Schuyler County Center will be their responsibility if they fail to agree to a fiscal year 2018 budget by the end of May.

“Governor Rauner and lawmakers will bear the responsibility of Schuyler shutting down if they fail to agree, once again, to a budget by May 31,” said Illinois Association for Behavioral Health C.E.O. Sara Howe. “Their failure to enact a budget after more than two years mocks their repeated talking points about the purported priority of behavioral health in Illinois.”

Chockley applauds the efforts of State Rep. Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) and State Senator Jill Tracy (R-Quincy) for their, so far, unsuccessful efforts.

“There have been consistent efforts made by Representative Hammond and Senator Tracy’s offices as they have been pleading the case of the agency with the Comptroller’s Office and the Department on Aging, but they have so far been unsuccessful,” said Chockley. “We need help from Springfield before it is too late.”

Rauner and the Democratic-controlled legislature currently remain far apart on any budget agreement.

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