My first article as the Rockford Workplace Issues Examiner
On February 22, 2012, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn introduced his proposed state budget for fiscal year 2013. Among repeat areas targeted for cuts is the Department of Human Services (DHS), specifically the Medicaid program. This has a direct impact on the city of Rockford because among the facilities targeted for closure is Singer Mental Health Center, a state-operated facility serving people with severe mental illnesses. Singer escaped closure last fall after the bipartisan Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability voted against closing Singer because of a lack of transition planning for moving the residents served at Singer.
Governor Quinn seems to wear blinders when it comes to budgetary line-items to slash. He has continued the tradition of past governors to cut funding of human services agencies. This move is puzzling at best. Medicaid provides funding to many different types of services throughout the state of Illinois, including nursing homes, hospitals, and community health centers. All of these could be hard hit, but taking Singer as an example, several issues arise from a potential closure. First of all, alternate placement must be found for the residents. The state has already closed other state-operated facilities, so public options are not plausible. Placing residents with private agencies is possible, but as previously mentioned, these facilities are also affected by budgetary woes.