Three enter Kish mental health unit as first admissions
DeKALB Three patients were admitted to the behavioral
health unit at Kishwaukee Community Hospital in the past five
days, hospital staff confirmed Wednesday.
are the first admissions in the ward since last November, when
KCH submitted a proposal to the state to close its unit that
provides inpatient mental health care. The Daily Chronicle could
not confirm Wednesday which doctor or doctors admitted the patients.
One of the three patients had been discharged by
Wednesday morning, hospital spokeswoman Sharon Emanuelson said.
Emanuelson said the admissions underscore what the
hospital has been saying since asking the Illinois Health Facilities
Planning Board last November to let it close the behavioral health
unit: that the unit is still open while the hospital awaits the
planning boards decision.
has been open, staff has been on call in case we needed them,
she said. It doesnt change the fact there is very
low usage of the unit. The average daily census over a year is
still very low.
Jerry Lane, a spokesman
for DeKalb County Citizens for Better Mental Health Care, said
the advocacy group was leery about the patient admissions. The
hospitals application to the state to disband the unit
said the behavioral health ward was still open, Lane noted, which
he contends has not been true since November.
said it is his understanding that the units staff were
reassigned and no patients had been admitted since November.
I think that with the corporate approach that
the hospital has taken to the whole issue, as opposed to a community
approach, we have no way of knowing if this has to do more with
image than substance, Lane said. I would love them
to prove me wrong.
Lane said he thought
it is good that area residents had access to the unit again,
and hoped that the hospital brought back the employees who used
to staff that ward because of the excellent care they provide.
KCH has provided inpatient care for mental illness
for more than 30 years, and the state has twice decreased the
number of beds in the unit from 16 to eight and then to
its current six beds.
Hospital officials have
said the unit is not used frequently enough, that it is difficult
to staff, and that it is not profitable. A state study released
in October 2008 found 33 excess acute mental illness beds in
the geographical area that includes KCH.
health facilities planning board is tentatively scheduled to
consider KCHs application in July.
The Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board is tentatively
scheduled to hear a request to close the inpatient mental health
unit at Kishwaukee Community Hospital at its July 15-16 meeting,
which starts at 9 a.m. at the Northfield Inn, Suites & Conference
Center, 3280 Northfield Drive in Springfield.
unable to attend the hearing who wishes to submit written comments
must submit them to the planning board by June 25. Written comments
can be addressed to Mike Constantino, Supervisor, Project Review
Section, Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board, 525 W. Jefferson
St., Second Floor, Springfield, IL 62761.