Hospital chief on Newtown
As officials and observers discuss the country's system for mental health care after the shootings in Newtown, Illinois Hospital Association President MaryJane Wurth of Naperville weighed in on her blog.
Wurth says she's been to Newtown before and argues the way mental health care is provided needs to change.
Right now we are moving in the opposite direction – fragmented and defunded services with hospitals at times being the only option and service of last resort. Yet even these services are subject to payment reductions and penalties as the state seeks to lower Medicaid costs.
We have a serious mental health crisis in Illinois and our nation. We must come together to address this tremendous need for the health and safety of our children today and of future generations to come.
Just this year, state lawmakers and Gov. Pat Quinn cut spending on Medicaid - the program that pays for health care for the poor - by a huge amount, trying to manage costs that were hampering the state's budget far more than the rising pension costs that have consumed lawmakers' attention recently.