HFS Meltdown! A glimmer of why the mental health system in this state is in shambles.

The Special Assistant to the Director of IL Dept. Healthcare & Family Services, Jean Summerfield unleashed a full-out verbal attack complete with clenched fists, eye rolling and flaring nostrils directed at the facility’s clinical consultant yesterday.  It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before. She was screaming so loud she could be heard on the other side of the second floor. Actually, the outburst took place on the administrative wing of the second floor and the hallway quickly became filled with both facility and HFS staff. Initially, most facility staff thought that the commotion was due to a resident who was symptomatic and decompensating. Clearly that was not the case! No one would ever believe that an employee let alone a high ranking state employee would behave in such an unprofessional and abusive manner.  If that wasn’t bad enough the other HFS employees were (while in the presence of their supervisor Jean Summerfield) swearing “I’m not F- – – – -, Mother Theresa. . .”, and one HFS employee (a former IDPH surveyor) was saying “you people never did any kind of discharge planning with any of your residents before, now all of the sudden you act like you care, no one ever cared before, and that’s why you got decertified”.

What the hell happened? The HFS team has continually refused to work with the facility staff to locate appropriate placement for the residents. HFS makes placement decisions for the resident and apparently is not informing them of the decision. Then when the staff informs the resident that they are leaving the next day the residents refuses to go. I wonder why. “That’s not my problem” was the statement one HFS employee made after staff questioned the appropriateness of a placement decision they made for a DD resident. HFS is screaming that the facility is obstructing the process. Again, what process? They are herding cattle and being abusive and violating resident rights. Somerset Place reportedly was decertified because of abuse! Interesting.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “HFS Meltdown! A glimmer of why the mental health system in this state is in shambles.

  1. Though a sad spectacle, I am less interested in (and not at all surprised by) unprofessional, incompetent and hypocritical behavior of the state and its employees.

    My attention will be devoted fully to monitoring and documenting, with microscopic care, the OUTCOME of their efforts. Stay tuned. . .

  2. unbias

    It dosnt surprise me one bit. All of these places are nothing short of ware houses for the mentally ill.
    Its all for profit. I worked @ Approved Home until the state took its funding also. The treatment those DD residents received was hurendous. I was glad to see that joint close. All the paper work is done for funding as well as the state. ive seen a lot. Trust me when I get my nursing degree Im going to work for the state my self.. I dont blame DHF for being pissed I would have been too. The most important thing now is to find those residents proper placement. Oh yea, they need to check on Grassmere thats the other joint they own. The Lil Cook County Jail………

  3. David

    Many people disagree on if Somerset Place should or should not have been closed. But I think you bring up a very valid point that most State Employees who monitor this population have very little idea of how difficult the work can be. It is my understanding that IDPH, that agency that conducts compliance surveys each year on nursing homes, have no Mental Health Professionals working for the agency. It would seem many misunderstandings could be avoided if the facility staff working with this population could expect that Public Health Surveyors had extensive experience in the field of Mental Health and Substance Abuse. I wonder how many HFS staff working at Somerset the past few weeks have spent a significant amount of time working with the Mentally Ill. How many of them have a working understanding of what the different diagnosis’s mean and what kinds of treatment are appropriate for them? As you have said before it would be nice if the Tribune would now focus some attention on the many other problems in the IL Mental Health System.

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