Barry Schrader is an old school journalist. His career in the industry began after graduating from Northern Illinois University with a degree in journalism in 1963. At one time he and his wife Kay owned and published the Genoa Republican, the DeKalb County Journal, the Sycamore True Republican and other local newspapers. He was later named editor of the Daily Chronicle after it was purchased by the Scripps-Hagadone newspaper chain.
Scrader now publishes an online local journal DeKalb County Life as he probes the Internet for ways to communicate news and record history. His blog often reflects on local issues.
He has a passion for mental health care in DeKalb County. During 2009 he led a futile campaign against the closing of the 6-bed mental health unit (Center for Behavioral Health) at Kishwaukee Hospital.
So when the news broke that Kishwaukee Hospital and its related entities were to be absorbed into Chicago-based Northwestern Medicine, Shrader did what he could to boost attendance at the required public hearing to bring the need for local mental health care services to a priority in discussions.
His probing of the details into the Northwestern Medicine takeover of KishHealth has raised the awareness of the complexity of such mergers and perhaps the most intriguing questions of the year: Who will own the land and improvement holdings of KishHealth? What’s the selling price (if any)? Who got it?
Kishwaukee Hospital and Sandwich Hospital were truly community hospitals. Many people donated money over the years to help acquire property and build facilities. DeKalb County has been blessed with philanthropic community members.
When Jacob Haish, a local inventor, manufacturer and developer died in 1926 he specified in his will that his estate was to be used to build a hospital, to build a library, and to care for people in the DeKalb vicinity who could not afford healthcare. Haish Memorial Library was built in 1930. From 1961-68, $526,000 was given to DeKalb Public Hospital to build and maintain the Haish Memorial wing. Grants also were made to DeKalb Area (Oak Crest) Retirement Center; and to TriCounty Community Health Center, Children’s Learning Center (CLC), and DeKalb Community Coordinated Child Care (4Cs). Charitable gifts were made in 1980, to the original Kishwaukee Community Hospital community drive and in 2000, to the hospital’s cardiac rehab atrium campaign. In 2006 the estate contributed $450,000 to the new hospital.
That’s the most historic account of donations to KishHealth but the donor list is a who’s who of modern DeKalb County history. So good for Barry Shrader for shining the light on the KishHealth and Northwestern Medicine merger. And for asking probing questions. Maybe he’ll uncover a revenue source for a local mental health facility.
“People are being strapped into ambulances and shipped out of the county,” Schrader told the Chicago Tribune. “That’s not going to change just because Central DuPage Hospital is opening more beds.”
Residents who need to be hospitalized for mental health services are transferred to hospitals in Rockford, Dixon and Hoffman Estates. In certain emergencies they’re held at the county jail.
Must reads at Barry’s Blog…
Top Story of 2015 (interesting questions and tidbits about the fate of KishHealth).
Hospital sale – Just the Tip of the Iceberg Part II (Maybe the County Board needs a burr under their saddle as a reminder that DeKalb County needs a local mental health care facility).
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