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The fear of change

Thursday, May 1, 2014

* The University of Illinois at Chicago interviewed several dozen guardians of Jacksonville Developmental Center, which was closed by the Quinn administration. The center cared for severely disabled residents. The closure was hugely controversial.

Initially, the vast majority of guardians, 83 percent, were dissatisfied with the facility’s closure. But since then, 89.2 percent said they are now somewhat to very satisfied with their ward’s current living situation.

Also, 33 percent said their wards were “significantly” better off after the closure, while another 27 percent said they were “somewhat” better. 27 percent said there was no change and 13 percent said the situation was somewhat worse. Nobody, however, said their ward’s situation was significantly worse.

* But, not all went well

The majority of survey respondents felt that the closure process moved too quickly.

    • 52% said it was too fast;
    • 43% said it moved at a good pace; and
    • 5% said it moved too slowly.

* Anyway, the Tribune referenced this March report in an editorial today about Quinn’s plans to close a similar facility….

Bruce Rauner, the Republican candidate for governor, recently announced that he opposes Quinn’s plans to close the Murray Developmental Center in Centralia. “Right now, Murray Center is the best option for these families,” Rauner said at a Saturday appearance there.

Rauner wants to keep the center operating until the relatives and guardians of all of its 222 residents are willing to accept an alternative placement for their loved ones, a campaign spokesman said.

This mystifies us. Doesn’t Rauner profess to be the candidate who will make the tough decisions to put Illinois on sound financial footing? In this case, he’s taking political advantage of a tough decision made by Quinn … to put Illinois on sound financial footing. […]

Here’s the argument we would have expected Rauner to make:

Illinois’ remaining seven developmental centers serve about 1,800 residents at an annual cost of $240,000 per person. The cost of community-based group homes averages less than one-third of that amount, though the cost varies depending on the level of care provided. According to evidence presented by the state in the federal lawsuit seeking to block the closing of Murray, Illinois stands to save $100,000 a year for each Murray resident who makes the transition to community care.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Highland, IL - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 10:59 am:

    My State Senator & Rep are going crazy about Murray Center. At least one of them campaigned on a 10% budget cut across all departments. Just don’t let that cut happen in their district.

  2. - SAP - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 11:07 am:

    The Tribune said that??? I thought I felt a disturbance in the Force.

  3. - Laurie Stengler - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 11:24 am:

    This evaluation touted as success by closure advocates only includes data from the 36% of guardians/residents that responded to the survey. Note that 64% did not even respond to the survey. How could anyone use this information to draw conclusions? Maybe they were so disgusted with the entire process they didn’t feel their input would matter. The director of a homeless shelter in Jacksonville recently attributed her uptick in clients in part due to the Jacksonville closure. This is very disturbing and reinforces concerns regarding the welfare of those unaccounted for. We need a FULL accounting of the disposition of the Jacksonville residents. DHS should certainly know where these people are and how they are doing. Where is the hard data to show the success of this closure?????

  4. - Almost the Weekend - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 11:38 am:

    Rauner wants to keep open the Murray Center, re-open Tamms, increase funding for education, and oppose the tax increase.

    The only logical solution is Rauner will also be funding the Illinois government with his personal wealth.

  5. - Barbie - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 11:49 am:

    I believe there were only 65 respondents to this survey. How many were under state guardianship and therefore, most likely, had no say in their location? Also, I find it disturbing that the public is not being given all the facts such as, the care will not be the same! Many services now offered to those at Murray will not be given to them in the community. Also, where is the outcry about using an out of state provider and paying them a bundle to transition these folks? It is also frightening to read ARC’s report which asks for more money in the community and warning that care cannot be met if the current tax rate is not made permanent! I absolutely want the best for my child who resides at Murray and I would love to have him closer to me! I just don’t think that this is the time to ” rebalance” when we don’t know if the money will be there to care for these fragile residents! Once they are moved, it is done. Don’t forget it is a fact that 29 people died after Lincoln Developmental Center was closed. I urge caution!

  6. - Give Me A Break - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 11:54 am:

    OK Barbie, you want to talk about the Lincoln Developmental Center or the Howe Developmental Center and why they closed? Didn’t think so.

  7. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 11:54 am:

    If nothing else, we can’t call the Trib inconsistent on this one.

  8. - Barbie - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 12:03 pm:

    Give me a break. Have you visited Murray and saw the care there or spoken to a Guardian or the MPA? I was not arguing if Lincoln or Howe should have closed. That is a done deal but if you want to get specific, there is another SODC that runs in the red ( Murray does not to my understanding) And Equip for Equality has for YEARS wanted to close THAT SODC! Tell me why Murray if there is not an ulterior motive. With all due respect my MAJOR concern is can the state of Illinois care for these fragile folks with the financial crisis we are currently facing? I simply think the ” rebalancing ” initiative should be on hold until the finances are stable. I am gravely concerned for the health and welfare of those with significant needs and I just want them safe and happy. I will be the first to say that money is not and cannot be my first concern when lives are involved.

  9. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 12:08 pm:

    Give Me A Break - did you just compare the operations of Lincoln and Howe to the operations of Murray?

    Places of abuse, neglect and “preventable deaths”? There are valid reasons COGFA and the public in general supported those closures but oppose closing Murray.

    Barbie is making the factually accurate point that an abnormally large number of people died after Lincoln was closed. Many attribute that fact to the rapid closure and insufficient transition planning of the facility.

  10. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 12:10 pm:

    Barbie - there are many around the state who share the concerns you have for your child.

    Good luck and please keep fighting for what you feel is best for you and your family.

  11. - Arizona Bob - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 12:38 pm:

    I participated in a public forum sponsored by Murray a few years ago. These folks are very determined and politically savvy. They know where the soft spots are.

    I did a little research on them and they seem to be pretty effectively run and they appear to truly put the interest of those served above political patronage.

    I think singling out Murray was a smart move by Rauner.

  12. - Barbie - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 12:45 pm:

    Formerly Known as: Thank you! I am not a politician, never wanted to be one and never hope to be one. All I truly care about is the safety and the well being of those I care about! I do believe that perhaps there are folks who should take a look at the abuse, neglect and preventable deaths that are happening in the community in general. Too many put very little value on those who cannot vote and are unable to advocate for themselves. It adds to my concern that I saw what happens to those who are in CILA’s with behavioral challenges. I am a Psych nurse with 30 years experience. Repeatedly, I watched patients admitted from group homes or CILA’s when the homes could not and would not manage their challenging behaviors. They then refused to take them back! Guess what? They were sent to a state operated developmental center! So much for saying that anyone can live in the community! Murray has given my son good care for 20 years. When there was an issue, I was right there working with them until it was resolved! Too many people are voicing an opinion without learning the facts. Right now this may all be a moot point since the fate of Murray and my child rest in the hands of a Federal court Judge in Chicago. I WILL continue to care for my son the best I can and even though I am not in good health and up there in age, I will continue to fight for him and his friends!

  13. - Miss Marie - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 12:52 pm:

    Ok, re: the comments about the financial crisis of Community services and how they are at risk if the tax increase goes away–that’s true for the SODCs, too. That is substantial amount of money that goes away if tax increase goes away, and there is no way around that. And unfortunately the SODC residents are just as just as affected as the community residents.

  14. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 12:55 pm:

    Yes, Rauner wants to make tough decisions…..NOT closing Murray is a tough decision because it is based on common sense, decency, and doing the “right thing”. Something the Quinn administration knows nothing about. Those people who want to talk about the residents from Murray who have already been moved (wards of the state) should read the Guardian Ad Litum’s affidavit. If not getting one’s insulin, getting poptarts and marshmellows for lunch, and being totally isolated all day in a house with one staff, and one other resident is quality placement then our society is even worse than I have ever thought. The MPA members are very smart, well educated (doctors, attorneys, professors, etc.etc.) and after studying the situation and available services we have found that at this time Murray is the only place that can care for our residents in the way they deserve…..quality care! Of course community services are going to be cheaper. My brother lives in a CILA (I am his guardian) and my son lives at Murray. None of the medical care, dental care, etc. etc. is covered in these CILAs. Dental care is almost nonexistent in the community. My brother’s cost in the CILA is ONLY for room and board. This is totally comparing apples and oranges. The needs of my son at Murray are TOTALLY different than the needs of my brother, who is healthy and high functioning. We are all about change and doing the RIGHT thing, not throwing people into a community that is not capable of caring for them. Also, Murray Center is inspected by 5 different agencies each year. My brother’s CILA is only inspected every 3 years. Why isn’t my brother’s life in the community as valuable as my son’s at Murray? I have repeatedly asked DHS why the oversite is so poor in the community? I never get an answer.
    Also, the JDC survey is totally flawed. It is based on only 1/3 of the people moved from JDC, and no where in the report does it say if these 1/3 are private parents/guardians or based on reports from the Office of the State Guardian. Rep. Meier’s bill would demand that the state report on EVERY person moved. At this time residents in the community of Jacksonville are reporting in the media that several of the JDC residents are living on the streets. And this is quality care. Also, has anyone mentioned the 35 or so JDC residents that were stuck on a bus in the early morning and moved to another state facility…..more quality placement by DHS????
    The MPA has always advocated for quality care for all the disabled….those who live at home, those who live in CILAs or those who live in the community of Murray Center……….wish DHS did the same.

  15. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 1:14 pm:

    Barbie, Laurie Stengler, Anonymous and others - I hope you will continue participating here and sharing your insights on posts like these. You have firsthand experience that can be helpful and educational to those of us who do not.

  16. - Anon - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 1:19 pm:

    Mr.Cut Spending makes exceptions whenever there is political advantage to be gained. The surprise is that the Tribbies call out their candidate on it.

  17. - Anon/ - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 1:21 pm:

    I am ashamed of both parties that are using these residents as their pawns to be elected. Shame on all those who are voicing an opinion about Murray and do not even know what they are talking about.

  18. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 1:26 pm:

    A little clarification on the closure of LDC (Lincoln Developmental Center). Those of us that were intimate with the closure decision by Former Governor Ryan are well aware of what he said to Former Senator Larry Bomke. My understanding is that Ryan stated he would close LDC no matter what and was more adamant about closing the facility since Bomke was opposed to it. On a personal side, my loved one received excellent care at LDC for over 25 years…I would make random drop by visits at odd hours and I personally never witnessed abuse or neglect.

  19. - Left Leaner - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 1:47 pm:

    Rauner: “Hi cake. I’d like to have you and eat you too.”

  20. - Barbie - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 1:55 pm:

    Miss Marie, You are sadly correct. Sorry for my error in not making this clear! Anonymous thanks for adding clarity. My son too was at LDC. I was NOT happy with his care and he was moved to a private facility 4 hours away from me. They kicked him out with no appeal process in place. I left my job and tried to bring him home. It was very difficult because his needs were so great. He has now been at Murray 20 years. He is still quite a challenge although he has greatly improved under the experts care at Murray. If he does not make it in a group home, if he HAS to move, the nearest state op will be 125 miles one way from my home. That will simply not happen! Murray NEEDS to remain open for many reasons!

  21. - steve schnorf - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 2:06 pm:

    Dear Tribune: surely somewhere on your editorial board (God how we miss Cornelia) you have someone smart and courageous enough to say this shouldn’t be a financial issue, it has to be a quality of care issue

  22. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 2:30 pm:

    ==This evaluation touted as success by closure advocates only includes data from the 36% of guardians/residents that responded to the survey. Note that 64% did not even respond to the survey. How could anyone use this information to draw conclusions?==

    Ever heard of sampling? This isn’t a statistical sample, but do you really not understand how the underlying idea works?

    As for the issue at hand, the state is in a severe financial crisis and it is expensive to care for, house, and give these residents a life of decency. For some of these residents it may be both better and less expensive to have them housed outside of state-operated centers. For others it may not be.

    Regarding comparisons between some of the closed centers and Murray, has the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department ever done an investigation into Murray? What about medical auditing organizations?

  23. - Connie - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 2:32 pm:

    It’s always about the money/egos, isn’t it? It is so sad to see the loved ones of those who need consistent attention and care to jump through hoops over and over again to insure that the care is appropriate. Instead of studying how much can be cut back, study what it takes to do the right thing. These are people in need, for God’s sake. I commend Laurie Stengler for her tireless efforts in her constant struggle to get justice for those who can not speak for themselves. Shame on anyone who stands in her way.

  24. - VanillaMan - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 2:57 pm:

    I do believe the average Illinoisan has no clue what goes on in our special health institutions. Before they think these should be closed - “and transitioned”, they need to recognize that the folks making these claims have absolutely no idea what they are saying.

  25. - Earnest - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 3:44 pm:

    I agree with the Tribune that it seems Rauner’s support of keeping Murray open seems inconsistent with his anti-union message.

    Separate from that, I think most of the opposition to the institutions closing comes from unions representing the employees and people who know their communities will be financially hurt by the closing. Parents are told horror stories and it scares them. People want to ignore a survey of more than 1/3 of the people who exited JDC in favor of anecdotal stories.

    The legitimate concern is the lack of resources in the community. However, people exiting the institutions are getting funding at truly appropriate levels which will allow the providers to meet their needs. They are also closely followed and monitored by PAS/ISSA agencies.

  26. - Bobby G - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 4:10 pm:

    Rauner could care less for Murray and the people there. He is only taking this position so he can siphon off the support of public sector union members who are already upset with Quinn and my not come out to vote in the general. This way, he might even capture their votes. But if elected, he will probably break his campaign promise as many pols do.

  27. - just wow - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 4:35 pm:

    If you want to drink the kool aid and believe the numbers in that report go right ahead. JDC was comprised of mostly residents that were wards of the state so of course there are favorable numbers. I know of at least one former resident whos’ family lived close and visited frequently that was moved over 3 hours away. They no longer can afford to visit their daughter due to distance. You may argue this one single person but I believe that is one too many.

  28. - Tess - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 6:28 pm:

    Rauner said Illinois has a moral obligation to Murray Center individuals and he is correct. The fact is it will not save money to care for Murray indiduals in 2-4 bed homes because Murray individuals require more intensive care than those in the community Quinn compares them to. These facts are part of the federal court case. The Tribune falsely claimed “most other states” have closed State operated Centers. The fact is only 14 had closed their centers and some of them have actually reopened their centers due to the safety net the Centers provide for individuals in CILA homes when they can no longer be cared for in the CILA. The figures provided by U of I were not reflective of where Jacksonville individuals are today…only where they were discharged to. The fact is many have had to be readmitted to State Operated Developmental Centers because they required more care than the CILA could provide. Cannot believe the Tribune would print such inaccurate information….sounds like they allowed Tony Paulaski of Arc to write their piece….hogwash and. every statement can be factually disproven!

  29. - Johnny - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 7:54 pm:

    Weren’t some of the residents of Murray Center brought there FROM CILA type homes, because the CILAs were not able to adequately care for their needs?

    How are they magically able to care for these same patients now?

    Maybe we could take the $100M that would be wasted on an Obama library, and use it for the truly needy in our state?

  30. - Just Me - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 8:22 pm:

    I have been to both Murray Center and CILA homes. I can say first hand the difference is night and day. The atmosphere, love and care they receive at Murray Center is by far so much better for the residents. It seems to me a lot of people have the perception the residents at Murray Center just exist at the center. This could not be more wrong, they are VERY MUCH a part of the community.I think it is time to STOP using these residents for political agenda and STOP wasting money trying to remove them from THEIR HOME. If we can spend 100M on a library for Obama, pay for illegals, we can surely find the money to keep Murray Center open. The residents deserve to be able to keep there home.

  31. - Tess - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 8:53 pm:

    Absolutely Murray Center has admitted numerous individuals from small community homes. What Murray Parents and employees are advocating is a continuum of care that includes State Operated Development Centers and CILAS to serve all the adults with developmental disabilities. One size does not fit all!

  32. - Rob's Dad - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 11:14 pm:

    .Cost figures provided are inflated beyond belief. The Feds pick up a minimum of 50% - that takes the inflated $240,000 to $120,000. It has been demonstrated that a SODC can and does reclaim 70% of its operating cost from various sources as SS, Pensions, Medicaid, etc. The State should stop with their numbers claims unless they are willing to put the calculations and income sources on the table for examination. In the end though, if a child in your family was being affected, would money be your deciding factor? Illinois is nowhere near to being capable of providing the necessary care for my son in the community and I will fight to the death to protect him.

  33. - Been there - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 4:10 pm:

    I wouldn’t believe anything the state has to say about the statistics of JDC transitions. They have done exactly what I thought they would do. They have taken the small percentage of feedback about the transitions and turned it into propaganda to deceive the public.

  34. - Jeff - Monday, May 5, 14 @ 2:11 pm:

    Did anyone ask the residents what they want?–Tells-Police–Wants-to-Go-Home–To-Murray-Center#.U2fh3V7T5qI

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