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©2019 by Mental Health America of Illinois

ADVOCATE

Better Treatment for People with Mental Illness

Experts Panel

DRIVE CHANGE THROUGH POLICY

Mental Health of America of Illinois (MHAI) develops and supports policy positions on key mental health issues working with legislators, state agencies and other not-for-profit groups to advocate for improved policies. Each year, MHAI develops policy priorities that are determined by our Board of Directors and carried out primarily through the work of the Public Policy Committee.

MHAI’s Public Policy Committee includes board members, staff, advocacy partners, providers and other outside experts who help determine strategies and tactics to implement MHAI’s legislative priorities.

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STATE ADVOCACY

The Public Policy Committee reviews all legislation affecting mental health issues introduced in the Illinois legislature.  MHAI frequently presents written and oral testimony supporting or opposing mental health legislation. 

Additionally, MHAI takes the lead role in drafting advocacy materials, including sample letters and position papers which consumers, providers and other advocates use to communicate to the Illinois legislature. MHAI regularly drafts and obtains passage of mental health legislation.

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ADVOCACY COALITION

MHAI co-founded and currently Chairs the Mental Health Summit (MHS), an advocacy coalition dedicated to improving the mental health system of care in Illinois.

The Mental Health Summit is a state-wide coalition of more than forty advocacy organizations, professional societies and trade organizations in the behavioral health field. The Summit meets monthly to share information and coordinate advocacy efforts, primarily directed at Illinois state policy makers, but also federal and local government entities. MHS develops and supports policy positions as needed in partnership with legislators, state agencies and other not-for-profit advocacy groups to increase resources for persons with mental illnesses in Illinois. 

See passed and pending legislation.

US government building

FEDERAL ADVOCACY

MHAI works in cooperation with our national partner Mental Health America (MHA) to convince United States senators and representatives to support MHA’s legislative initiatives, including increased federal funding for mental health services and research and federal mental health insurance parity.

RECENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS

WE HELPED OBTAIN THE ENACTMENT OF LEGISLATION THAT...

  • Restricts the ability of health insurance providers to change coverage for pharmaceuticals during an enrollee’s plan year (Public Act 100-1052)

  • Provides persons enrolled in Medicaid managed care with procedural protections to prevent improper disenrollment (PA 100-0950)

  • Creates the Community Behavioral Health Professional Loan Repayment Program to address the shortage of behavioral healthcare professionals (PA 100-0862)

  • Substantially strengthens Illinois’ mental health parity law (PA 100-1024)

  • Creates the Early Mental Health and Addictions Treatment Act to provide pilot programs to identify and treat persons with behavioral health conditions at earlier stages of their illnesses (PA 100-1016)

High Fives

WE DRAFTED AND OBTAINED PASSAGE OF...

  • PA 100-1110, to allow long-term residents of state psychiatric hospitals to vote by removing a provision from the Election Code that prevented these persons from using the hospital address as their voting address. This bill affects several hundred persons.

  • PA 100-1710, which prevents a person from inadvertently revoking an advance directive for health care without intending to do so.

 
 
 

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