Illinois Mental Health Care Strategy Pays Off

Health

Illinois leads in mental healthcare. The state is the only one to score an A rating in a new report on compliance with a Federal Parity Law that stipulates that mental health and substance use disorders be treated like other illnesses – a win for Illinois healthcare news.

The report, which was jointly released by the Kennedy-Satcher Center for Mental Health Equity, The Kennedy Forum, The Carter Center, and Well Being Trust (WBT) Center says only Illinois received an A rating, with Tennessee ranked second with a C grade.

“Our goal is to lead the nation in providing high quality, cost efficient health care. The Kennedy-Satcher assessment score is a clear indicator for our progress. There is more work to do and our teams are working together to make more advances in these important areas of public health,” Governor Bruce Rauner said in a statement.

To put into context Illinois’ achievement, 32 states received a fail rating, according to the “Evaluating State Mental Health and Addiction Parity Statutes” report.

The report illustrates the effort that Illinois has put forward to receive such a lofty rating. In 2013, the state launched a mental health strategic plan running until 2018 and the authorities believe their efforts have paid off.

“This summer, four years of work paid off, as the governor signed a major, bipartisan mental health package focused on comprehensive, evidence-based solutions. One of the bills, Senate Bill 1707, improves insurance companies’ coverage of mental health and substance use disorder treatments and strengthens the ability of the Illinois Department of Insurance (IDOI) to protect consumers,” a statement from Rauner’s office said.

Recently, Rauner approved several laws expanding telehealth services for patients on Medicaid. The new laws expand access to telemedicine for mental and behavioral change patients. These groups were not covered by the old laws.

It is estimated that one in five Americans experiences a mental illness every year. The National Alliance on Mental Illness Chicago chapter estimates that 5 million Illinois adults are living with poor mental health, 2.1 million are living with mental illness and 434,000 have a serious mental illness.