Plan Would Leave County with Fewer Psychiatric Services
Orrick, Dave, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Dave Orrick Daily Herald Staff Writer
Doctors, patients and mental health workers spoke out Thursday against Highland Park Hospital's plans to significantly change its psychiatric care services.
"I genuinely believe this will cost lives," said Michael Baber, director of social services for the Vernon Hills police department.
Baber's comments came at a hearing at Highland Park's city hall scheduled by state Sen. Terry Link and state Rep. Karen May in response to a plan to transfer some adult psychiatric services to Evanston Hospital.
The plan was drafted by Evanston Northwestern Healthcare, which owns both hospitals. The announcement came on the heels of Condell Medical Center's decision to close all of its psychiatric services in Libertyville.
As a result, Link and a host medical and law enforcement officials have raised alarms over a potential shortage of places where adults needing significant care can spend the night.
Link said he has received letters from officials in Lake Zurich, Buffalo Grove, Gurnee, Vernon Hills, Highland Park, Deerfield and the county board.
Lisa Fowler, a Buffalo Grove police counselor, said that, although crime has gone down since 1994, police calls requiring an ambulance have tripled, and an increasing number of them are "psychiatric calls for crises," such as suicide attempts, dementia, psychotic episodes and substance abuse. …