CBHA News Weblog

Community Behavioral Healthcare Associaton of Illinois

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Archive for April, 2008

New Health Care Plan Aims to Help 17,000 More Illinois Residents Get Mental Health Care

Posted by Frank Anselmo on April 25, 2008

(Springfield, IL) – On March 5th, Illinois mental health advocates announced at a Springfield press conference a new health care initiative that could extend mental health care to an additional 17,000 residents in Illinois.

Under the “Bridging the Health Care Gap” plan developed by the Community Behavioral Healthcare Association of Illinois, an additional 16,829 Illinois residents—of which 8,830 are children—fighting depression or teen suicide could soon get the help they need once the state of Illinois starts spending existing mental health care dollars.

“Any decent Illinois health care plan needs to provide mental health care too; otherwise, the health plan is a mirage,” said Frank Anselmo, CEO of the Community Behavioral Health Care Association. “This new health plan does that—it provides mental health care to more people in Illinois.”

“Once the legislature and the Governor give the green light, the $42 million available and designated for mental health can be used to provide mental health care to more people in Illinois,” said CBHA Board President, Diana Knaebe, above.

For example, Anselmo says local mental health care providers will be able to:

  • Provide more mental health clinics to help students at local high schools.
  • Initiate house calls to homebound seniors who can no longer drive or navigate public transportation.
  • Help children to get child psychiatrist services, saving parents the need to travel for hours to another state with their suffering child.
  • Hire bi-lingual and bi-cultural mental health counselors to explain the purpose, value, and directions of prescribed medications to non-English speaking patients.

The plan would cost an estimated $42 million. Key to CBHA’s plan is drawing on $42 million from the Hospital Tax Assessment money received from the federal government nearly a year ago and money from the state’s Mental Health Trust Fund.

Anselmo, above, worries, however, that Governor Rod Blagojevich will sweep away mental health care money to plug the emerging state budget hole, sacrificing the mental health care and alcohol and drug abuse treatment needs of residents.

“The Illinois General Assembly appropriated $10 million six months ago for mental health care, yet not a single dollar has reached mental health care agencies in Illinois,” said Anselmo.

“The legislature must ensure that the Governor does not sweep mental health care money, but spends it on mental health care.”

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