More than 820 agencies and providers are waiting on a total of $168 million in payments from the state’s Department of Human Services.
When proposing a budget of more than $4 billion for the coming fiscal year, acting DHS Secretary James Dimas told a Senate committee the department has more than 1,000 community service agreement contracts with 826 agencies and providers.
Democratic state Sen. Daniel Biss questioned the fairness of the agreements.
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“Those providers are being screwed over and many of them are in terrible trouble,” Biss said.
Dimas said the agreements include an upfront understanding vendors won’t get paid until a budget for the current fiscal year is passed.
“That’s not a situation that we can resolve and I think you know that,” Dimas said, “and I think you know who can resolve that.”
Dimas said he hopes lawmakers will help him keep his promise to make the agencies whole by passing a budget for the current fiscal year.
Meanwhile, help could be on the way for a facility a state senator says is vital and endangered.
Democratic state Sen. Steve Stadelman expressed concern about the status of Rosecrance, a Rockford substance abuse rehab center.
“I’m told that the Rosecrance board will meet next week to vote on possible closure,” Stadelman said.
Stadelman said Rosecrance’s services help to keep the jail population in check, reduce the number of police calls for people with mental health issues and positively affects other community issues.
Dimas said services like those Rosecrance provides are key to local residents.
“The only way that we are going to be able to draw down on investment in deep-end care like our state’s psychiatric hospitals is to have more community-based crisis intervention services,” Dimas said.
The DHS secretary added that he plans to talk with the Rosecrance board next week about ways to assist until there’s a budget resolution.