There may be trouble in paradise, in what is looking like a breakdown in the relationship between a mental health advocacy group and Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration.
According to the Illinois Observer, an online political newspaper, a top mental health advocacy group, Equip for Equality, has abandoned discussions with the Quinn administration over mental health reform involving institutions for mental disease, or IMD nursing homes, claiming the administration’s decision to fast track IMD survival” and hinting it had been mislead about the administration’s intentions.
Negotiations by Quinn’s office to manage the transition of people with mental illness from nursing homes to community settings have been disrupted.
In an April 24 email sent to Quinn’s top behavioral health care aide, Lorrie Rickman Jones, obtained by The Observer, Equip for Equality’s Vice President for Public Policy & General Counsel, Karen Ward, rakes the administration over the coals for its “fast track” for IMD expansion in the community care transition process.
Ward says it is Equip’s belief that a key purpose of the group has become to develop a template for legislation that will greatly expand the roles of current IMDs, adding that the Quinn administration is attempting to help nursing homes “essentially to make up for the loss of business occasioned by rebalancing and the consent decrees.”
The 2010 Williams Consent Decree has pushed DHS to move individuals with mental illness out of IMD nursing homes and into community settings, but the move will cost politically influential nursing home owners a whole lot of money. So, they’re fighting a rear-guard action to keep a profitable piece of state business.
Equip has been fighting for a similar decree regarding the developmentally disabled, which helped create the plan to close state operated developmental centers or SODCs, such as the Warren G. Murray Center in Centralia.