Chestnut Moving Forward With Stabilization Center Plans

Published 07/31 2014 05:10PM

Updated 07/31 2014 06:22PM

BLOOMINGTON - For years, mental health care was on the back burner in the state of Illinois. As facilities closed, an influx of patients sought care from other sources.

“One of the things that rose to the top is there was no immediate short-term stabilization programs that existed,” said Walter Howe, administrator for the McLean County Health Department.

That's where Chestnut, and its years of experience, offered to help by renovating part of its facility on Martin Luther King Drive.

"A time to get them stabilized, either back on medication, regiment, or get them back into an ordinary situation where they'd get some counseling for services,” explained Howe.

County officials say the 14-bed facility, for mental health treatment and medically monitored detox, could reach hundreds of people.

"Frankly, if you are able to intercede at an earlier stage, there are good opportunities to help ameliorate the problem, and help them address their issues moving forward,” said Alan Sender, chief operating officer for Chestnut Health Systems.

Earlier this year, Chestnut had requested $400,000 from McLean County to help create the stabilization center, but on Wednesday night, Chestnut took that request off the table.

"We're just at a point now, where we're trying to put all the puzzle pieces together,” said Sender.

Now, the company is looking at federal, state, and grant money to help pay for the center.

"We understand that county dollars are very tight. We understand the tax levy may be affected if we do anything,” said Sender.

Chestnut has already begun the hiring process for the stabilization program. In fact, once work begins, renovations could be completed in two to three months.

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