The state of Illinois is officially filing for a waiver from the federal government to help provide better mental health services to Medicaid recipients.
The waiver would give the state access to two point seven billion dollars in federal Medicaid funds to restructure how the program handles mentally ill patients. Governor Bruce Rauner says the idea is to create a system that focuses on early intervention and prevention.
"Most underlying challenges we have in the various parts of our communities, mental health is a major driver. We got to think more strategically , comprehensively about this. This waiver will allow us to do that."
If approved...the governor says re-tuning the state's delivery of behavioral health care will save money in the long term by avoiding more costly inpatient admissions and institutionalization.
"It is exciting to see the state make this commitment to increased access to and integration of behavioral health into the Medicaid system," said Kari M. Wolf, MD, Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at SIU School of Medicine. "In my career I have seen first-hand how the waiver process can transform behavioral health care delivery."