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$1.2 Million In Budgeted Rosecrance Triage Funds Will Be Withheld, State Confirms


A Rockford mental health treatment program will not receive $1.2 million in funds that were included in the Illinois state budget approved this summer over Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto, the state Department of Human Services confirmed today.

"The Department has informed Rosecrance on several occasions that state funding for triage services will end," IDHS Communications Director Meghan Powers said in an email to WNIJ News, "and they should seek to get federal funding through Medicaid Managed Care Organizations to cover these services."

The program operates as a kind of psychiatric emergency room. Individuals in crisis can stay for up to 23 hours or transfer to the Crisis Residential Unit for extended care. It also provides addiction services, including intervention and detoxification.

The goal of the triage program is to prevent unnecessary incarceration or hospitalization.

State Rep. Litesa Wallace, D-Rockford, made an unofficial announcement Wednesday on Facebook that the Rosecrance Triage Program will not receive the $1.2 million allocated to it by the state legislature.

Litesa Wallace Yesterday, I learned some disturbing news; the Governor's Office and DHS are not going to spend the $1.2 million for Rosecrance I fought to get appropriated and funded. That money was for a triage center that has proven itself a powerful tool to address the behavioral health and substance abuse issues in our region. It was funded under Quinn after the Singer mental health center was closed and has suffered under the budget impasse. I supported the budget because it funded services we need in our area. We have a heroin epidemic (more deaths from drug overdose than gunshots). We deserve to see our increased taxes come back to our community in the form of infrastructure, social safety nets and much more. With a fully funded budget in hand, this is an act of cruelty on the part of Bruce Rauner and will NOT help us address this critical need in our region. -- Litesa Wallace, Facebook

Wallace says defunding the Rosecrance program would compromise the lives of Rockford residents.

"Our coroner is collecting the remains of people who are overdosing in parking lots," she said. "Young children throughout the state are being found with painkillers and [overdosed] on them."

Wallace said Rauner's actions are contradictory to his stated concern for the heroin crisis in Illinois.

David Gomel, President of Rosecrance Inc., issued the following statement:

While Rosecrance is aware of unconfirmed reports regarding future funding for the Triage Program, we have not received any official notice. We have been in communication with the Governor’s office and Lieutenant Governor’s office; we are grateful for these communications and remain hopeful that the commitment approved in the budget will be honored. That commitment from our state leaders will allow Rosecrance to continue providing services to citizens in our community who are the most vulnerable: individuals who are in mental health crisis and often without resources or support systems.

Powers said in her email that Rosecrance still will receive more than $9 million from IDHS for mental health services. "The Department of Human Services has no intention of discontinuing its partnership with Rosecrance or impacting its triage services," she said. "It should be noted that more than 90% of the patients seeking services at the Rosecrance triage center are Medicaid eligible, which means federal funds are available to offset the costs of their care."

The Rosecrance triage program opened as a 24-hour alternative in 2012, after the state closed the Singer Mental Health Center to fund community-based services for people in psychiatric crisis. That was cut back to 11 hours daily in November 2015 -- five months into the first fiscal year of the more-than-two-year Illinois budget impasse.

  • WNIJ's Dana Vollmer and Victor Yehling contributed to this story.