Thresholds Statement on Continuing Illinois Budget Impasse – Human Services Are At At Risk
Devastating and Unacceptable
Chicago, IL – Tuesday was the last day of Illinois’ regularly scheduled legislative session. We are deeply disappointed that the General Assembly and the Governor have failed to come to a budget solution backed by adequate revenue for the second year in a row. The ongoing budget impasse has already had devastating consequences for our most vulnerable citizens, and they will only grow as the human services sector in our state continues to operate with inadequate resources and uncertain state contracts.
Having no budget in Illinois leaves mental health providers and thousands of other healthcare and human service providers across Illinois without the certainty and stability needed to provide the care our clients need to remain well. We are performing services every day under contracts that are not being honored, without knowing when or if we will be paid. Our clients suffer, our staffs are stressed and nervous, and a sector that represents a large portion of Illinois’ economy and jobs is under threat.
Without a budget, people living with serious mental illnesses are losing services that enable them to manage their illness and stay out of hospitals and other expensive settings that cost taxpayers far more than treatment. In addition, the budget impasse has caused hundreds of providers across the state to make significant layoffs due to a lack of payment by the state for services delivered. The 169,000 human services workers in Illinois represent 3.5% of the state’s workforce and are a significant economic driver. The budget impasse is costing our state money, jobs, and economic growth.
We know from previous studies that when mental health treatment services are cut, preventable psychiatric hospitalizations skyrocket. Following over $113M in cuts between 2009 and 2011, psychiatric hospitalizations spiked by 19% and cost the state $131M, more than the cuts themselves.
Many in our sector will not survive without a fully funded budget in place soon. The Governor and the General Assembly must work together to reach a budget agreement for FY16 and FY17 by the end of June that fully funds mental health and other healthcare and human services with sufficient revenue to support these investments. Without immediate action, irreparable harm will be done to an already devastated sector of the Illinois healthcare landscape, leaving thousands of people without life-saving treatment. This is an outcome that Illinois simply cannot afford.
Press Contact: Emily Moen, Director of Public Relations and Marketing, 773-572-5172