Saturday, July 28, 2012

Renowned psychiatrist’s South Side mental health center to close - Chicago Sun-Times

Right now the debate is over pensions but earlier in the year the controvery over state finances were over funds for social service providers throughout the state. That controversy has claimed a local victim:
Community Mental Health Council, Inc., the iconic South Side institution run by nationally recognized psychiatrist and violence behavior expert Dr. Carl C. Bell, will shut its doors Tuesday because the state did not renew its contract.

The Illinois Dept. of Human Services says its because the agency is fiscally mismanaged.

“Over the past several years, DHS... has advanced millions of dollars to CMHC in an effort to ensure continuity of care for consumers and to give the company an opportunity to improve its fiscal situation,” DHS spokeswoman Januari Smith Trader said. “CMHC...continues to experience serious fiscal mismanagement and eventual insolvency.”

Community leaders lament the loss of the pioneering, culturally sensitive, mental health resources CMHC and Bell have provided in the inner city since 1975.

“It’s tragic,” U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt in the minds of those who understand mental health that Dr. Carl Bell stands almost alone in terms of not just his understanding, but vast areas of outreach. He has been the promoter of approaches and programs being used today by many others in the field.” A part-time professor of clinical psychology and public health at the University of Illinois Chicago, Bell was appointed by several White House administrations to such panels as the National Institute of Mental Health and National Academy of Sciences.

While admitting his agency’s fiscal troubles, he blames them on the state’s own woes.

“Our difficulties began two years ago, when the state began slow paying. It caused all kinds of ramifications,” Bell said. “We lost seven psychiatrists over that period, and therapists and case managers. I had to step down from my national policy influencing advocacy role, and get back to the front lines, which is why I have 1,000 patients.
 Here's more about this agency:
Bell and his groundbreaking work on the effects of race, culture and ethnicity on behavioral healthcare issues, such as Black-on-Black violence, have been featured everywhere from “60 Minutes” and “Nightline” to the New York Times and People magazine.

At its peak, CMHC boasted a $20 million budget, 400-plus staff, 26,000 patients and 100 residential beds. Today, patients still show up, but find a mostly empty building.
Read the rest! Official website is here! This institution is located at 8704 S. Constance.

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