Quinn To Close Mental Institutions In Tinley, Jacksonville

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. Pat Quinn announced Thursday that he plans to close a Tinley Park mental hospital and a Jacksonville center for people with developmental disabilities as he ramps up efforts to move people out of state institutions and into group homes or other kinds of community care.

As the push continues, Quinn hopes to move 600 people out of institutions over the next 2½ years. That would eliminate the need for up to four hospitals and developmental centers, aides said.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports

Quinn’s office emphasized that the goal is to improve quality of life for people who depend on the state for care. But doing away with costly institutions should also save money. They predicted closing facilities in Jacksonville and Tinley Park, which together employ about 550 people, would save nearly $20 million.

Many advocates for people with mental illnesses and disabilities support more use of community care and less emphasis on institutionalizing people. But some family members fear the change will be mishandled or their loved ones will wind up in new institutions that are further from home. Unions and local officials generally oppose closing institutions because of the loss of jobs.

“It’s wrong to cut mental health and disability services for men and women in dire need,” the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees said in a statement.

A worker and a former patient at Tinley Park tell CBS 2’s Kristyn Hartman that closing the facility is a terrible mistake.

“To me, it’s difficult because we want to have a place to work, but the people, too, they matter,” employee Chanel Jennings said.

She’s talking about psychiatric patients who need acute, short term care.

Lisa Guardiola needed it when she was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

“My road to recovery started at Tinley Park Mental Health Hospital,” she said. “If I didn’t go there I’d probably be out on the street.”

The administration presented the plan as a final decision.

No public hearings are planned, said spokeswoman Brie Callahan, and there’s no need for a review by the legislative panel responsible for issuing advisory opinions on proposals to close state facilities. Lawmakers and the public got their chance to speak out last year in a series of hearings on a broader Quinn closure plan that ended up being shelved, she said.

“Ultimately, this is an executive branch decision,” Callahan said, “but we’ve done it with a lot of input from the General Assembly and a lot of responsiveness to the concerns they raised with us in the fall.”

The Legislature’s Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability recommended in November that the Tinley Park hospital be kept open, partly because of the need for mental health services in Chicago’s southern suburbs. The commission also voted against closing the Jacksonville facility, citing its importance to the local community.

However, those recommendations involved quick shutdowns in response to a lack of money. Lawmakers eventually supplied the money and the closures were canceled. It’s possible the legislative commission might have reached different conclusions if it had been looking at a long-term plan like the one Quinn offered Thursday.

The announcement was made while Quinn was on a trip to Washington. Callahan said it was pure coincidence that details came together when Quinn was unavailable to present the decision himself.
(TM and © Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Scott

    Better to make cuts in spending, than raise taxes and spend more. I’m surprised a Democrat could figure that out!

  • PG

    And you are closed minded to the fact that the state cannot continue spending the way that it is, something has to be cut. if people didn’t want mental hospitals to be closed now, they should have not voted the way that they did in the past, enabling the thieves and morons in office now to continue destroying this states finances. People should have been paying attention to the states debt all this time, and then moves like this wouldn’t be made now. People like you want the state to fix its finances, yet you don’t want anything cut. Cut aid to the poor? Nope, can’t do that. Cut funding to the bloated public schools? Nope can’t do that. Nothing can be cut. For once, I can say that I approve of something Quinn is doing. Maybe he’ll keep it up!

    • Afro

      What about this?

      SPRINGFIELD — House Democrats on Sunday offered a scaled-back, $250 million-a-year, tax-break package designed to keep Chicago’s two financial exchanges and Sears Holdings Corp. from moving out of Illinois.

      Now we can’t afford 20m for special care because we have to support Chicagos new welfare plan. All the while you say you agree with what Quinn is doing come on guys. It’s mismanaged all the way around and Quinn robs from the needy and gives to the corporations.

      • Sam

        Corporate welfare plan agreed

  • Larry

    Tinley Park Psych hospital services the needs of people with mental illness in southern Cook, Will , Kankakee and Grundy counties. This hospital was not to close unless another facility opened for the needs of people with depression, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia and other serious mental illness was available.
    Mental illness is no less a disease than any physical illness like diabetes, hypertension, cancer, etc. Maybe our elected officials/politicians/high level state executives at all levels can reconsider padding their pensions/multiple pensions and do the right thing with pension reform and use that money to keep places like Tinley open for those who truly need the care they deserve for their mental not physical illiness

  • john

    Let the sick imates run free?

  • joe

    Gov. You need to be admitted

  • Ralph

    You need a check up from the neck up Quinn. LOL LOL

  • PG

    Sorry Timmy, I didn’t realize that one has to serve in the military to have an opinion about how tax money is spent (and overspent in this state).

    No where in my statement that I voice support for an airport. In a vain effort to find an argument, you say things that wasn’t said. I’m simply stating facts. If people want the state to get right financially, then something has be closed, programs are going to have to be unfunded/shut down, etc..

    Like so many other “we want it all and for everyone else to pay for it” democrats, you just don’t seem to get it.

    Oh but wait, you served in the military, so I suppose you understand everything, and those of us who didn’t are second class citizens.

  • willy

    all coons and idiots please, die.

  • Barbara Trigsted

    Good plan. Take from the helpless who have no means of fighting you.

  • http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/01/25/quinn-defends-plan-to-de-institutionalize-mentally-ill-disabled/ Quinn Defends Plan To De-Institutionalize Mentally Ill, Disabled « CBS Chicago

    […] As WBBM Newsradio’s Alex Degman reports, mental health care advocates and parents of those in state-run facilities have blasted the governor’s plan, which aims to transition all residents into less expensive community settings within three years. […]

  • http://www.whatisschizophrenia.org/about-paranoid-schizophrenia/ About Paranoid Schizophrenia

    […] Quinn To Close Mental Institutions In Tinley, JacksonvilleGov. Pat Quinn announced Thursday that he plans to close a Tinley Park mental hospital and a Jacksonville center for people with developmental disabilities as he ramps up efforts to move people out of state institutions and into group homes or other kinds of community care. … Read News […]

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