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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Wed May 13, 2015

Mental Health Advocates Rally Against Rauner's Proposed Budget Cuts (VIDEO)

Carrying signs reading, "Mental wellness is a human right," a few hundred Illinoisans took to the Thompson Center Wednesday afternoon to rally against Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed budget cuts to mental health services and other crucial programs.

At the event, spearheaded by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Chicago, speaker after speaker denounced Rauner's 2016 budget plan, which seeks to slash funding for the mental health division of the Illinois Department of Human Services by 15 percent. That works out to be a proposed cut of $82 million.

Cash-strapped Illinois faces a $6 billion budget deficit in the 2016 fiscal year, beginning July 1. To plug that hole, Rauner wants to significantly cut funding from a range of budgetary items, including $1.5 billion from Medicaid.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
Tue May 12, 2015

Chicagoans Continue Fight For A South Side Trauma Center After Obama Library Announcement (VIDEO)

Following Tuesday's official announcement that the Obama presidential library will be built in Chicago, local activists continued their push for a South Side trauma center with a march from Washington Park to the home of University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer. Progress Illinois was there for the demonstration.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Tue May 5, 2015

Chicago Mental Health Community Demands Answers Over C4's Imminent Closure (VIDEO)

Following the abrupt news last month that Community Counseling Centers of Chicago (C4) expects to shut down at the end of May, clients and staff from the major mental health service provider want answers about the organization's imminent closure.

C4 clients, staffers and their supporters from Arise Chicago, SEIU* Local 73 and other groups rallied Tuesday afternoon outside C4's facility at 4740 N. Clark St. They were there to demand "four C's for C4: compensation, clients' rights, communication and commitment," explained C4 staff therapist Max Beshers.

C4 -- which serves more than 10,000 patients annually and has some 300 employees -- expects to close May 31 as a result of problems stemming from a new billing and electronic health records system required as part of the Affordable Care Act, according to C4 President and CEO Eileen Durkin.

C4 employees, organizing as the C4 Workers' Committee, say they have been kept in the dark about the institution's problems. 

"We, as workers, were never told this was happening, so there was no way for us to know or prepare. We were just given short notice that C4 was going to be closing," said C4 staff therapist Cynthia Cruz. "We don't have any type of transition plan yet. We don't know what to tell our clients, and our clients also have a right to know what's happening for them next."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
Fri Apr 24, 2015

Trauma Center Activists Hold Overnight Vigil Outside U Of C President's Home (VIDEO)

Protesters held an overnight candlelight vigil outside the home of University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer as part of the ongoing campaign for an adult trauma center on Chicago's South Side. Progress Illinois takes a closer look at the push for expanded trauma care services in the city.