Governor Pat Quinn Wants Illinois Budget to “Protect Core Priorities”

(Springfield, IL) — Illinois’ new budget may spend less than Gov. Pat Quinn’s original proposal, but it is higher than this past year’s budget and was balanced by delaying the payment of billions of dollars in unpaid bills until this current fiscal year.

“The governor has been clear … that while we put our fiscal house in order, we must continue to protect core priorities,” said Kelly Kraft, Quinn’s budget spokeswoman.

Quinn is “reviewing” the budget’s impact on human services and schools statewide, Kraft said, which were among those items lawmakers trimmed to reduce spending from Quinn’s $36 billion to $33.2 billion.

House Democratic budget architect Frank Mautino, D-Spring Valley, said the new spending priorities include Illinois’ $4 billion pension payment.

The budget “for the first time doesn’t hide the true costs of state government by taking the pensions off budget,” said Mautino. “We’re making all of our pension payments, which for the past three years we’ve had to borrow” to fund.

But pension payments are one piece of Illinois’ astronomical debt. In the proposed budget, lawmakers did not reduce the $4 billion in old bills on the desk of Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka. Instead, the state will take longer to pay these bills, including Medicaid payments

State Sen. Donne Trotter, D-Chicago, said lawmakers are spending as much as Illinois is expected to take in from taxpayers.

“This is a revenue-driven budget … versus a program-driven budget, which we’ve had in the past where we created programs and then tried to find money,” Trotter said.

State Rep. David Harris, R-Arlington Heights, said that if Illinois brings in more than $33.2 billion in tax revenue, that extra money will pay for past-due bills.

Benjamin Yount, Illinois Statehouse News

SEUI Healthcare Launches TV, Radio Ads to Fight Illinois Budget Cuts

(Springfield, IL) —  The Services Employees International Union for Healthcare in Illinois and Indiana has been placing television and radio advertisements throughout the state, hoping to deter lawmakers from cutting dollars for child care and home care services for the elderly.

“These ads are really about educating the public and educating lawmakers about the importance of these programs and the critical role that they play in providing family support and care for tens of thousands of Illinois families,” said Brynn Seibert, spokeswoman for SEIU Healthcare.

In a recently released SEIU radio advertisement, the organization features a participant of the Illinois Home Service Program saying that even if funding disappears, his disability won’t. In a TV spot, a working couple from Joliet talks about the need for the state’s child care assistance program. The advertisement ends by urging viewers to tell state legislators to avoid cuts to child care.

David Morrison, deputy director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, said advocacy groups typically create media campaigns to encourage the public to lobby their lawmakers.

“(But) because it’s so removed from the outcomes, groups are usually reluctant to take that kind of effort, to put those resources in that kind of effort, when it’s much more direct for them to send their lobbyists over to talk to a public official,” Morrison said.


Rep. Sara Feigenholtz Says House Appropriation Panel Poised to Act on Illinois Human Services Budget

(Springfield, IL) — April 28, 2011. Illinois lawmakers returned to the Capitol Tuesday to a fast approaching deadline for getting the next year’s Illinois budget passed. The House is expected to start voting on individual budget proposals by the end of next week.

House committees have been holding hearings since January to determine which agencies and programs will be getting cut for the state to fit under the $23.8 billion spending budget. Total House numbers tallies in at $33.2 billion, which also includes funding for pension and debt payments.

State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago, who’s heads the committee that is divvying up funds for human services, calls the task of budgeting with shrinking numbers daunting.

“I am still fighting with my leadership. I’m trying to do a little pushback here with what we’re actually realistically able to do,” said Feigenholtz.

Unlike in previous years, the House has delegated power to individual committees to determine budgets for elementary and high school education ($6.8 billion), general services ($1.2 billion), higher education ($2 billion), human services ($12 billion) and public safety ($1.6 billion).

State Rep. Fred Crespo, D-Streamwood anticipated these numbers to be broken down even further into individual measures for specific agencies, instead of grouped together into one, all-encompassing budget package.

“They will be done separately unless we find that there is some synergy among some of these departments,” Crespo said.

As of yet, lawmakers agreed that not many of the numbers have been written in stone.

“This is it. We all left town … knowing that this was ahead of us… . And here we are today ready to put pen to paper,” Feigenholtz said.

The Governor’s office will be working closely with lawmakers, said Kelly Kraft, budget spokeswoman for Gov. Pat Quinn.

“There have been different estimates that have come out, but it’s a work in progress,” said Kraft. “We continue to work with legislators to come up with the best possible number.”

The House is working with a total budget of $33.4 billion budget, while the Governor has proposed $35.4 billion.

Illinois Statehouse News

Video Update from Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association CEO Sara Moscato Howe:

Video of State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) courtesy of Illinois Statehouse News.

New A&E TV Documentary Exposes Escalating Heroin Crisis in Chicago, Suburbs

(Springfield, IL) – April 22, 2011. A&E TV last week unveiled a new 45 minute documentary that exposes the escalating heroin crisis in Chicago and the suburbs as the State of Illinois slices its budget for drug treatment services.

“The video footage was taken during the recent mid-year fiscal year 2011 budget crisis in which Governor Pat Quinn’s Administration had planned to eliminate all state treatment and prevention funding for the remainder of the year,” said Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association CEO Sara Moscato Howe.

“The documentary accurately reflects the unfolding heroin crisis which is gripping Chicago’s suburbs,” said Howe. “Drug cartels are expanding their distributions operations in Chicago to meet the spiraling demand from the suburbs.”

The documentary depicts the efforts of several suburban residents struggling to overcome their addiction while state treatment service funding is squeezed by the state.

“It is worth the watch,” said Howe.

You can view the documentary here …

Gov. Pat Quinn Rescinds Proposed Elimination of Illinois Alcohol, Drug Treatment Funding

(Springfield, IL) – March 10, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn’s Administration yesterday announced that it had rescinded the proposed elimination of all state funding for non-Medicaid substance abuse prevention and treatment services.

“This afternoon, I received a call from Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary Michelle Saddler informing me that the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget has recommended no additional state revenue reductions from addiction treatment in FY11, leaving all provider contracts unchanged for the rest of the year,” said Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association CEO Sara Moscato Howe.

Secretary Saddler stressed, however, that this recommendation does include the projected savings of $7 million of Medicaid funding that DASA believes they can achieve through the implementation of Utilization Management, according to Howe.

“This funding decision means that providers who had frozen admissions for DASA-funded clients should be able to starting accepting new clients as early as today,” said Howe.

On the prevention front, the Secretary indicated that the ‘addiction prevention’ line will not be cut any further in FY11, but that the governor’s budget office is still looking at possible reductions in the Methamphetamine Awareness line, says Howe.

“The Secretary will update me once a decision has been made,” said Howe.

“As an Association, we have successfully educated legislators and the news media alike on the impact of the full elimination of state GRF funding for our services,” said Howe.

“Nevertheless, we still have much work to do on Governor Quinn’s FY12 budget, which also calls for elimination of state funding for prevention and treatment services.”

“In the meantime, we must thank State Representative Sara Feigenholtz, Senator Mattie Hunter and other lawmakers who were crucial to the restoration of funding for addiction health care.”

Quinn Budget to Eliminate 2,500 People—Including 1,000 Women—from Drug, Alcohol Treatment

(Springfield, IL) – As Illinois lawmakers work to assemble a final Illinois budget, substance abuse prevention and treatment advocates today urged legislators to reverse the budget cuts proposed by Governor Pat Quinn that will slash Illinois drug and alcohol treatment for more than 2,500 Illinois residents, including 1,000 women.

“Governor Quinn’s cuts to the Illinois addiction healthcare system will eliminate care for more than 2,500 people, 1,000 of whom are women,” said Sara Moscato Howe, CEO of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association. “Lawmakers need to reverse the cuts.”

Since 1995, the number of Illinois women in drug, alcohol has surged 41%, but Quinn this year is still cutting treatment services by 8%, which will toss more than 2,500 out of treatment, of whom nearly 1,000 are women.

Quinn’s budget cuts the Illinois Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse budget for community treatment providers and funds for addiction prevention for community prevention providers are on a top a 22% cut last year.

“Relentless budget cuts are forcing the Illinois addiction healthcare system into a death spiral and women are increasingly suffering the brunt of the budget pain,” said Howe.

In FY 2009, there 89,909 individuals receiving treatment services, down from 101,105 in FY 2008, a 11.6% decrease.

“By further strangling the drug treatment system, threats to public safety will boil over,” said Howe.

In 2009, a resurgent heroin crisis killed more than 100 people in Northern Illinois alone, a crisis that is zeroing in on local teens. Meanwhile, Quinn’s proposed budget will eliminate drug prevention for more than 1,000 youth.

“The threat to public safety is not a hypothetical threat,” said Howe. “There are young people whose lives will be sacrificed to heroin because of prevention funding cuts.”

“We urge Speaker Michael Madigan, Minority Leader Tom Cross, Senate President John Cullerton, Minority Leader Christine Radogno and Governor Quinn to adopt a budget to salvage addiction healthcare in Illinois.”

Illinois Drug, Alcohol Abuse Prevention and Treatment Faces Further Cuts in Illinois Budget

(Springfield, IL) — Governor Pat Quinn‘s proposed Illinois budget for next year plans to cut drug, alcohol abuse prevention and treatment services by 8%–on top of 22% budget cut last year.  Illinois Alcohol and Drug Dependence Association CEO Sara Moscato Howe explains the stakes in the current Illinois budget battle.

Lawmakers, People in Drug, Alcohol Treatment Protest Governor Pat Quinn’s Budget Cuts to Eliminate 2,500 from Treatment

Sara Howe

(Chicago, IL) — Since 1995, the number of Illinois women in drug, alcohol treatment has surged 41%, but Governor Pat Quinn this year is still cutting treatment services by 8%, which will toss more than 2,500 out of treatment, of whom nearly 1,000 are women.

Quinn’s cuts comes on the heals of a 22% budget cuts that the Governor imposed on substance abuse prevention and treatment services last year, according to Sara Howe, CEO of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association.

Additionally, in 2009, a resurgent heroin crisis killed more than 100 people in Northern Illinois alone, a crisis that is zeroing in on local teens. Meanwhile, Quinn’s proposed budget will eliminate drug prevention for more than 1,000 youth.

Faced with the surging need for treatment and dwindling state money, public officials and private citizens yesterday rallied

State Sentor Mattie Hunter and Theodora Binion Taylor

at a community forum to discuss the cost and impact of untreated addiction and to protest Quinn’s budget cuts to prevention and treatment services.

Sponsored by the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association; Haymarket Center, Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC, Inc.) and Healthcare Alternative Systems, Inc., the packed auditorium at Haymarket heard from multiple speakers:

  • John Roberts, Father who lost 19 year-old to heroin overdose, Chicago Police Captain (retired), Program Chair of Criminal/Social Justice at Lewis University (retired)
  • Mattie Hunter, State Senator (Chicago-3)
  • Earlean Collins, Cook County Commissioner
  • Paul Biebel, Presiding Judge, Criminal Division, Cook County Circuit Court
  • Anthony Cole, Vice President, Haymarket Center;  Board Chairman, Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association (IADDA)
  • Sara Howe, CEO, IADDA
  • Roger Romanelli – CEO, Randolph/Fulton Market Association
  • Theodora Binion Taylor, Director of the Division of. Alcoholism and Substance

Video: Women–The New Face of Substance Abuse in Illinois

Sara Moscato Howe, CEO, IADDA

(Chicago, IL) — February 9, 2010.  According to a new analysis of Illinois government data, the number of women receiving state-supported treatment for drug or alcohol addiction between 1995-2007 jumped 41%, compared to 21.7% for men.

“The face of addiction is changing across Illinois—and it is increasingly a woman’s face,” said Sara Moscato Howe, CEO of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association, who analyzed the historical data published by the Illinois Department of Human Services-Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse.

(Listen Here to Podcast: Illinois Women in Drug, Alcohol Treatment Increases 41%)

In the state fiscal year 1995, 30,545 adult Illinois women received drug or alcohol treatment through local community treatment providers financed primarily by state government. In FY 2007, 52,045 received services, a 41% increase.

FY 2007 is the most recent data available.

During the same period, 65,992 adult men received services in FY 1995 and 84,326 in FY 2007, a 21.7% increase.

In FY 1995, adult women comprised 31.6% of the total adult population receiving treatment services. By FY 2007, their share of the treatment population had grown to 38.1%.

Young girls and boys in treatment are surging even more dramatically.
Female youth in treatment increased from 2,392 in FY 1995 to 5,087 in FY 2007—a 52.9% jump. Boys totaled 6,020 in 1995 and 13,188 in 2007, a 54.3% hike.

The growth in substance treatment use far outstrips the general population growth in Illinois. In 1995, Illinois had an estimated population of 11.8 million and 12.9 million in 2008, a 9.3% increase.

What troubles Moscato Howe even more is that Illinois is failing to meet the overall need for treatment services.

“The state’s own plan says they will serve 15% of the need,” said Moscato Howe, “However, using the most recent Illinois Household Survey Data from 2003, we are currently only serving about 5.25%.”

Moscato Howe noted when this year’s Illinois budget cuts are factored, that number will fall to about 4.09%, much lower than 7-9% served in previous years.

“More and more women and young girls are seeking drug and alcohol treatment and our ability to help them is diminishing with each passing year,” Moscato Howe said.

Moscata Howe noted that IADDA will be pushing Governor Pat Quinn and legislative leaders House Speaker Michael Madigan, House Minority Leader Tom Cross, Senate President John Cullerton, and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno to address funding issues this year.

IADDA VIDEO: “The Perfect Storm: Women Needing Treatment Soars, State Funding Plunges”

Shannon Simms, a nurse and mother, illustrates how substance treatment at the Haymarket Center in Chicago saved her life, saved the life of her unborn child, and gave her a second chance to reestablish her career, home and family. Moscato Howe and Anthony Cole, Vice-President at Haymarket Center outline the risks of shrunken state funding for women in treatment as their demand escalates.

Finally, Simms has a warning for lawmakers who allow money for drug and alcohol treatment to be gutted.

Watch her story and learn about the state of women and substance abuse treatment in Illinois here:

Failure of State to Pay Illinois Substance Abuse Treatment Providers Pushes Agencies to Financial Edge; Quinn, Giannnoulias, Hynes Urged to Back Short-Term Loan

Sara Moscato Howe, CEO, IADDA

(Chicago, IL) – January 11, 2010. The State of Illinois’s inability to pay its $5.1 billion backlog of bills is threatening the ability of Illinois substance abuse providers to treat the estimated 98,000 individuals annually enrolled and provide care to the children of women in treatment.

The state owes prevention and treatment providers an estimated $43 million in unpaid bills, much of that amount stretching back six months.

“Though some payments are trickling in, the state has, essentially, stopped paying treatment providers for their work,” said Sara Moscato Howe, CEO at the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association.

For example, the state owes Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI) approximately $1.2 million for this fiscal year, in addition to nearly $300,000 for the previous fiscal year.

LSSI, which provides substance abuse treatment to nearly 5,000 people annually, is facing grave decisions regarding the treatment and other services it can provide if the agency continues to go unpaid.

Rev. Dr. Denver Bitner, LSSI president/CEO

“We have almost exhausted our savings and lines of credits to keep paying our employees so that our agency can continue to operate,” said the Rev. Dr. Denver Bitner, LSSI president/CEO.

In addition to its substance abuse treatment services, the major human services provider serves more than 72,000 people annually through a wide variety of services for children, families and adults of all ages, including seniors.

“The State’s failure to pay us for services we’ve already provided — some going back to last fiscal year — jeopardizes our ability to continue to provide the care and treatment that men, women and their children need,” said Bitner.

“How long could you keep your house if you boss failed to pay you for six months?”

According to Bitner, LSSI employs 163 people in its substance abuse treatment programs. Of its nearly 5,000 clients, many are women with children.

“When women come for help, they don’t come alone—they come with children,” said Bitner. “The women will lose their treatment and this will directly affect the well-being of their children

Illinois currently has a backlog of $5.1 billion in unpaid bills, and the payment cycle is, in some cases, six-months from the time a bill is submitted to the state until payment is received by a vendor.

“Program closures, client service cuts, and staff lay-offs are not empty warnings if the state continues to not pay its bills to us,” said

Diana Martinez, 32 years old; single mother with 3 children, LSSI client

Bitner. “We have taken loans to pay the state’s bills—the state should also take the loans necessary to pay its own bills.”

“Across the state, agencies like Lutheran Social Services of Illinois are taking loans to pay their bills because the state is failing to do so,” said Howe. “Governor Pat Quinn, Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias and Comptroller Dan Hynes need to reach immediate agreement on a short term-loan to help pay the state’s bills.”

“We have reduced our costs as much as possible. In fact, last year, we reduced our cost of providing treatment services by approximately 15 percent.

“Any further cuts will severely affect our ability to serve people and add to the state’s unemployment rolls,” added Bitner.”