I celebrated my 6th anniversary at Josselyn this week and it brought back memories of those early, dark days when I first arrived at Josselyn. The State of Illinois had just entered what was to become an 18-month budget impasse, resulting in one-third of Josselyn’s funding being cut. Half of that was permanently lost with the elimination of the Psychiatric Leadership Grants, which covered the difference between the underfunded Medicaid rates and the true cost to provide this service. For about twenty years, Josselyn had been existing on a state funding stream that had been drying up a little more each year.
So, one of the first things I did was reach out to my friend and colleague, Louis Kraus, MD, The Woman’s Board Professor of Child Psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center. He shared with me that he had a passion for Josselyn and remembered it fondly when, in earlier times, it was THE place to receive outstanding mental health care. He pledged to help me return Josselyn to that position of eminence. He started volunteering as our Medical Director, along with four other well-respected child psychiatrists in the area, whom we call Josselyn Champions, because they donate their time and expertise to treating low-income children.
I recruited new board and staff members, and together, we all worked hard to save this 70-year-old institution which was founded by pioneering child psychiatrist, Irene Josselyn, MD. Her vision for community mental health preceded the 1963 Community Mental Health Act by a dozen years. Not only was our institution founded by a child psychiatrist, but we had become the sole remaining provider for low-income children to receive psychiatric care within a 375 sq. mile area… because Medicaid reimbursement rates had shrunk so dramatically that very few providers in Illinois could afford this care. We simply had to return Josselyn to its roots as a leading child and adolescent psychiatry center.
So, you will understand why, six years later, I am so very proud to announce the arrival of…not one, but two new full-time child and adolescent psychiatrists, and a Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residency Program at Josselyn. It is my deep and sincere honor to introduce: