Psychiatric services in McLean County face another cut after the Center for Human Services announced Tuesday that it must shut its doors to new clients.
CHS sees the county's residents with the greatest psychiatric need and the fewest available resources. All of its patients are either on Medicaid or have no insurance at all.
Tom Barr, executive director of CHS, said the change is heartbreaking but necessary.
The United Way of McLean County recently announced an effort to focus services to youth and family programs, resulting in a $70,000 cut to CHS after July 1. Barr said that puts CHS total funding cuts over $500,000 dollars since 2015.
As a result, he said CHS needs to reduce its client load over time.
“It’s not a situation where we need to maintain the caseload at a particular number. We really need to decrease it based upon all of these cuts," Barr said.
There are 752 clients, age 12 and up, seeking psychiatric care at CHS.
Barr said the center will need to gradually reduce its client list, but that CHS will not stop providing services to clients until they are stable. At that point, the center will refer to primary care physicians or alternate providers in the area like Chestnut Health Systems.
As clients are referred out, their empty spots will not be filled until additional funding is secured.
In the meantime, Barr said CHS has utilized reserve funds to maintain services to the county.
Since 2015, he said CHS has used $1.4 million of its reserves. But CHS will need to cut back on reserve spending to remain sustainable, he said. At this point, the center has $3.6 million left in its reserves.
Barr said he is hopeful CHS will obtain additional funding locally, or through state and federal programs.
Barr told GLT last week he remains optimistic on state funding changes once Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker takes office next month.
All other CHS services will remain open.
People like you value experienced, knowledgeable and award-winning journalism that covers meaningful stories in Bloomington-Normal. To support more stories and interviews like this one, please consider making a contribution.