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State Official: There’s Still Hope For Facilities Quinn Plans To Close

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — There is hope for the seven state facilities that Gov. Pat Quinn wants to close.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports, Quinn’s senior health care policy adviser, Michael Gelder, told lawmakers discussions are underway to rebalance some monies to keep prisons, developmental centers and mental health centers open for now.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports

“We are committing here to the transition of residents from developmental disability centers over the next 2 1/2 years that would amount to 600 people being transitioned to smaller residential, community-based settings over that period,” Gelder said. “That would allow us to close up to four facilities over the next 2 1/2 years.”

This past weekend, Quinn said a slower and more orderly reduction of state-run services for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled was a good idea, but the Tinley Park Mental Health Center will still close for good by next month, or by next July at the latest, the Sun-Times Media Wire reported.

State Sen. Jeff Schoenberg (D-Ill.), co-chair of a legislative oversight panel on the subject, said the plan Gelder outlined would be a way to undo some of the damage.

“I know the administration has very smart lawyers telling them that they had to send out those pink slips,” he said. “I’m sure there are even smarter lawyers who can give you even more compelling legal proof as to why the administration should go take those pink slips out of people’s mailboxes before the holidays, given the progress that we’ve been making.”

On the chopping block are the Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln, the Tinley Park Mental Health Center, the Jacksonville Developmental Center, mental health facilities in Rockford and Chester, the Mabley Developmental Center in Dixon, and the Illinois Youth Center in Murphysboro.

Quinn announced the plans for layoffs and facility closures in September, blaming Illinois lawmakers for sending him a budget that had $2.2 billion less in revenue than he wanted.

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