"A Sad Revelation"
To the editor:
It looks like the mental health unit wont have a snowballs
chance of ever re-opening if the latest actions by the Kishwaukee
Hospital board and CEO Poorten pay off. We just found out that
the hospital has hired a national health care consulting firm
to coach them and move their application through the Illinois
Health Facilities Planning Board. This firm (on the web at http://consultprism.com)
has assigned one of its top guns, Janet Scheuerman of Valpraiso,
Ind., to this case. Instead of relying on their own PR and marketing
staff at Kishwaukee they will spend thousands and maybe tens
of thousands of dollars on this outside firm to get their application
ushered through the approval process. Instead of spending their
budget on mental health care they chose to throw money at getting
the mental health unit closed permanently.
This is a sad revelation for the many patients, their families
and local health care providers who need this inpatient service.
The hospital board has continued to show callous disregard for
the wishes of the many citizens who testified at the Mental Health
Board public forum, and now members refuse to even talk with
us about it, until their CEO Poorten and board chair banker Mike
Cullen meet me on March 31. They must feel pretty smug and confident
that their professional spin doctors from PRISM Healthcare
will get the job done, despite the wishes and needs of the many
people in DeKalb County who may seek mental health care in the
We will not be deterred in our efforts to re-open the unit
nor scared by pricey outside consultants, the same kind who come
in to run political campaigns for well-heeled politicians who
cant rely on local folks to win an election. The hospital
may have all the money it needs (their budget is also kept secret)
to wage this battle against providing mental health care, but
they are losing the respect and confidence of the public that
is witnessing the kind of care-less behavior from a board that
follows their CEO lockstep in his blind determination to shut
down mental health care.
If you want to keep up with this saga go to www.dekalbcountylife.com
and click on Mental Health. We would welcome your
input and support, unlike the hospital board.
DeKalb County Citizens for Better Mental Health Care
Psychiatrist opposes closure of mental health unit
To the editor:
I would like to make clear my position regarding the closing
of the Center of Behavioral Health at Kishwaukee Community Hospital.
In a recent Daily Chronicle editorial I was quoted as saying
The low number of patients and the quality of patient care
was a self fulfilling prophesy. The unit cant provide comprehensive
care because there are so few patients, but doctors dont
want to admit patients to a unit without a high level of care.
I was not misquoted. However, my statement was taken out of context.
I am opposed to closing the Center for Behavioral Health at Kishwaukee
I was the director of Psychiatric Services at KCH from 1976
to 2006. Before that I was Director of Psychiatric services at
DeKalb Public Hospital from 1972 to 1976. During that time CBH
was one of the most effective psychiatric units in the state
by any measurable standards. For example, during many of those
years we had the lowest percentage of our population referred
to state hospitals of any region in the state.
I dont know what has happened since 2006. I do, however,
know what was not done. Dr. Thomas Dennison and I, who have served
our community and been on the staff of KCH for over one half
century in combined years, were never consulted about any problems
regarding CBH or the need to close it. No other models of care,
including but not limited to using a hospitalist or developing
a program to treat psychiatric patients on the general medical
floor were ever tried.
I have been a psychiatrist for over 40 years. During that
time I have learned that psychiatric patients are best treated
in their home communities where they can be visited by their
families, and their families can meet with the treating doctors,
nurses,and social workers easily and more frequently.
I strongly support keeping the CBH open.
Thomas E. Kirts, MD