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Advocates fight to keep mental health facility open

Courtesy of Friends of Singer Facebook page

State officials are gathering public input on the pending closure of Rockford's Singer Mental Health Center.  As part of a cost-cutting move, Governor Pat Quinn signed a budget that calls for shutting the facility's doors this fall.  The governor says it's also part of an effort to focus more on community-based mental health care.

Linda Kobler is a nurse who works at Singer.  She says there isn't a definitive transition plan in place for the community to absorb Singer's patients.  When it comes to court-ordered patients, Kobler says it will be hard to transfer them to other state facilities because they're overcrowded. 

"Those individuals would actually have a diminishment where they would be able to be treated and so they would end up maybe spending longer times in county jails," said Kobler. 

Kobler was one of several people who testified against the state's plan at a public hearing Monday.  The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board will accept written comments through August 22nd.  The Board could decide on a permit request to close Singer when it meets next month.