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Javon Bea Mercyhealth Acute Mental Illness Unit Closure

I would first like to say thank you to everyone who has showed your support of our community’s mental health care these past couple of months in regards to the closure of Javon Bea Mercyhealth Rockton Avenue Campus Acute Mental Illness Unit. You wrote letters, signed petitions, displayed signs, reached your legislators, and spoke out on the issue. I’d like to extend an extra thank you to the over 40 individuals who spoke at the public hearing earlier this month in opposition.

We are saddened the board granted approval for Javon Bea Mercyhealth Rockton Avenue Campus to close the Inpatient Acute Mental Illness Unit (officially). Thank you to Xavier Whitford and Wester Wouri, on behalf of Mayor McNamara, for speaking out again this morning. A poignant remark was made by a board member that the HFSRB has some real work to do on itself. She and another board member who echoed her concerns said they were remiss to have to vote in favor, and some comments made by individuals representing Mercyhealth were alarming (doing little to recognize the complexity of treating mental illness and careless to assume other hospitals and agencies are prepared to take on the demand of current or future acute needs). Alas, the Board’s hands were tied by this recently changed statute:

(20 ILCS 3960/6) (from Ch. 111 1/2, par. 1156)(d) Upon receipt of an application for a permit, the State Board shall approve and authorize the issuance of a permit if it finds (1) that the applicant is fit, willing, and able to provide a proper standard of health care service for the community with particular regard to the qualification, background and character of the applicant, (2) that economic feasibility is demonstrated in terms of effect on the existing and projected operating budget of the applicant and of the health care facility; in terms of the applicant’s ability to establish and operate such facility in accordance with licensure regulations promulgated under pertinent state laws; and in terms of the projected impact on the total health care expenditures in the facility and community, (3) that safeguards are provided that assure that the establishment, construction or modification of the health care facility or acquisition of major medical equipment is consistent with the public interest, and (4) that the proposed project is consistent with the orderly and economic development of such facilities and equipment and is in accord with standards, criteria, or plans of need adopted and approved pursuant to the provisions of Section 12 of this Act.

You may view all of the proceedings here for the Public Hearing: https://tinyurl.com/mercy-ami-closure and when they are finished with meeting notes, you can hopefully read them here: https://tinyurl.com/hfsrb-meetings

Moving forward, we will heed the words of representatives of Mercyhealth and hold them accountable in providing the outpatient care they say they will. We will also look to SwedishAmerican as the leader in inpatient acute mental health treatment in our area. We will continue to advocate for a better tomorrow and to educate all those around us.

We appreciate all of those that are dedicated to improving the lives of individuals living with mental illness and their families.

– Danielle Angileri, Executive Director

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