To the editor:
First I want to express my gratitude for the overwhelming
response to my earlier letter calling for the re-opening of the
mental health unit (Center for Behavioral Health) at Kishwaukee
Hospital. Many concerned citizens around DeKalb County, health
care providers, patient families and former staff in that unit
called to express support for keeping mental health care available
I also want to thank Rep. Bob Pritchard for meeting with
me, then offering to hold a public hearing on the issue. But
the DeKalb County Community Mental Health Advisory Board has
now taken a leadership role by setting an open forum for March
9. Now lets hope the 18 hospital board members show they
care by attending this meeting.
After learning a lot more from numerous callers I have some
questions for the board. Why werent the eight or more psychiatrists
who can admit patients to that unit consulted before
such a drastic action was taken, instead of just being informed?
Did board members consult with police chiefs or Sheriff Roger
Scott to get their opinions? Why didnt they wait for the
results of a county-wide survey that had just been mailed to
4,000 homes relating to mental health needs of the residents?
The results of that needs assessment survey were just reported
out to the Mental Health Advisory Board this month. And why was
the decision made in a closed door meeting without ever asking
for public input or even issuing a press release about what they
Sure there were compliance issues that needed addressing,
staffing shortages that confront every hospital in the country,
and a lack of experienced unit management that caused headaches
for the CEO, but most hospital administrators would take
an aspirin and work the problem out, not take a scalpel
and excise the problem from their hospital entirely. How many
millions of donors dollars were spent on this first class,
state-of-the-art unit that they now want to abandon forever?
I hope the public gets some answers on March 9. Its at
7 p.m. in the County Public Health Department multi-purpose room
at 2574 N. Annie Glidden Road, DeKalb.