On March 15 th Lake County United invited the executive staff of US HealthVest, headquartered in NYC and the parent company of Lake Behavioral Hospital, to meet with the Lake County Chair, Executive Director of the Lake County Health Department, President of Lake County Chiefs of Police Association and Waukegan Police Chief to discuss how to move forward on establishing a Crisis Stabilization Unit for Lake County. This was very productive meeting and a year in the making. US.Healthvest committed verbally and later in writing to provide space, staff, medical clearance, detoxification and police drop off, regardless of the patient’s ability to pay, if the state establishes Medicaid reimbursement for these services. Commitment letter here
On March 21 we had a team of leaders from our 4 affiliates in Lake, Kane, DuPage and Cook meet with Governor Pritzker to discuss the need for Medicaid reimbursement for Crisis Stabilization. The Governor then directed his Deputy Governor and Director of Family and Human Services (manages Medicaid for the state) to meet with us.
On April 25 we pulled to together our allies from hospitals and law enforcement to join us in our meeting with Deputy Governor Flores and Director Eagleson to lay out the urgency and impact reimbursement will have in diverting people from jail/prison and the emergency room, saving the state millions and allowing for effective treatment.
In April we had a team of parents and residents of Waukegan meet with the Waukegan Superintendent of Schools to discuss the need for a mental health clinic in the school. She agreed to go on a tour of the clinic in Round Lake High School and to invite the board members to attend.
Throughout the month of March and April over a dozen small teams of 4-8 leaders in each county met with their State representative and senator, including Senate President Cullerton as well as Majority Leader Harris to discuss the need for a $1 Billion in the capital budget for affordable housing. The 2 biggest obstacles for increasing the stock of affordable housing in this 4 county region is:1) opposition from local residents and 2) money. We have a track record of effectively tackling both obstacles, which includes getting $145 million in the last State capital budget. This has led to over 400 affordable units and rehabs in the region. More information here.