An Evanston alderman says Albany Care, the specialized mental health rehabilitation facility at 901 Maple Ave., may lose its state license this month.
Ald. Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th) told residents at a ward meeting Thursday night that the Illinois Department of Public Health is supposed to make a decision about whether the facility can hang onto its license “by the middle of April.”
But, so far, Nieuwsma says, the IDPH hasn’t announced a decision.
Albany Care, the one-time Ridgeview Hotel, has a capacity of 417 residents but is said to currently operate with fewer than 300. It is one of 20 SMHRF facilities in the state.
Evanston is home to two of them. The other one here is Greenwood Care at 1406 Chicago Ave.
Albany Care has drawn increasing complaints from neighbors in recent months as well as complaints from residents about the quality of care.
“Albany Care is a nightmare,” Nieuwsma says. He says insufficient staffing and other issues has meant “things are going wrong in that building.”
He says he, Mayor Daniel Biss and Interim City Manager Kelley Gandurski have been working to address the issue for several months and, with the assistance of State Rep. Robyn Gabel, have gotten the state health department to pay attention to the issue.
Nieuwsma says whichever decision the state makes about the license, the neighborhood can likely expect continuing problems.
If the license is lifted, it will take time to relocate all the residents, and “during that time period the operators will have no incentive to offer any additional support and will have every incentive to cut costs,” the alderman said
“So we’re looking at several months of things getting worse before it goes away.”
If they keep their license, he said, “They’re likely to continue to barely scrape by” and the neighborhood problems will continue. “That’s not much better,” he added.