Post-Singer Crisis Care Taking Off

Jan 4, 2013

A court hearing is scheduled next week related to the recent closing of Rockford’s Singer Mental Health Center. While the legal battle plays out, local providers say a new network of mental health service is making strides.

State officials stressed that the October closing of the Singer center wasn’t just about cutting overall costs. They say it helped lay the groundwork for a plan to focus more on community-based care.

The Rosecrance organization is one of several providers receiving state funding to bolster crisis care in the wake of Singer’s closing. Rosecrance officials say a key element of the transition is a new triage center, which has been open for two months. Officials estimate that of the patients screened so far, nearly 70-percent were stabilized and able to return home.

The ER director at one of Rockford’s hospitals, Swedish American, tells WNIJ a noticeable effect has been an increase in availability for outpatient services, and that people admitted to the ER are experiencing shorter stays.

The northern Illinois chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness says it has yet to receive any complaints about the set-up. Officials with the group say another positive effect is the elimination of hurdles for uninsured patients to get access to the care they need. Those extra costs for assisting the uninsured are being covered by the state.

However, NAMI officials stress that it's still early in the post-Singer era. They're eager to get a better read on how things are working when they meet with Rosecrance officials next month. Rosecrance officials also note that while it appears the effort is off to a promising start, they'll probably have make some adjustments along the way.