Mental Heath Clinics Need Support, Say Council Progressives

Mental Heath Clinics Need Support, Say Council Progressives


CITY HALL — Progressive aldermen urged the city Thursday to accept new funding for its six mental health clinics after six others were closed two years ago.

The Progressive Reform Caucus announced Thursday that its eight aldermen would submit a resolution next week calling for hearings on funding for the clinics.

They say the $2.3 million in savings the city claimed in closing six clinics in 2012 “failed to account for the additional costs of increased emergency-room visits, hospitalizations, police interventions and incarcerations.”

Aldermen said they also want to ask Department of Public Health Commissioner Bechara Choucair about the possibility of joining County Care, as without it Medicaid patients could be denied treatment as the state moves toward managed care. They also want the city to explore other forms of insurance funding.

The eight progressive caucus aldermen — Bob Fioretti (2nd), Leslie Hairston (5th), Roderick Sawyer (6th), Toni Foulkes (15th), Ricardo Munoz (22nd), Scott Waguespack (32nd), Nick Sposato (36th) and John Arena (45th) — will be the lead sponsors when the resolution is submitted at Wednesday’s City Council meeting. But Ald. James Cappleman (46th) has also frequently commented on the need for comprehensive treatment for those with mental problems in Uptown.

The aldermen cited a study by the Mental Health Movement, an organization devoted to Chicago mental health care.

“To be clear, no client will be turned away, period,” said city spokeswoman Catherine Turco. She said the funding cuts were implmement to ensure the long-term viability of the city’s mental health programs.

She added that the implementation of the Affordable Care Act gives more options for care to residents who were previously uninsured. She said city clinics would treat current and new clients regardless of their insurance status.

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