Drug treatment centers in Illinois struggle amid COVID-19 spread

(The Center Square) – Drug treatment centers and other behavioral health facilities are struggling to continue to serve those who need help as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread in Illinois.

A survey of 147 community-based organizations found that their estimated Medicaid billing to the state had plummeted by $6.3 million at the end of March. The survey also found that their non-Medicaid billing is expected to balloon by about $800,000.

Marvin Lindsey, CEO of the Community Behavioral Healthcare Association, said he was concerned some facilities will be forced to close.

“At the rate that things are going now, without any kind of financial assistance from the state, there is no way that people can keep their doors open,” Lindsey said.

Lindsey said he expects the 58 workers who have already laid off could mushroom to nearly 600 employees in the next two weeks.

In March, the Illinois Department of Human Services, which oversees behavioral health providers, issued a “budget principles” memo to providers that said they would be “kept whole” and that employees should continue to be paid.

Ben Stortz, CEO of Cornerstone Services, said the Illinois Department of Human Services funds only a fraction of most provider’s budgets – 15% to 20% – with non-Medicaid state dollars, while most funding comes from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services through federally-funded Medicaid payments.

“We need the Department of Healthcare and Family Services to make the same commitment, and it needs to be done today,” Stortz said.

Submit a Comment