Illinois Wants Waiver to Improve Mental Health Services

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (KMOX) – Illinois is asking for a waiver from the federal government to help provide better mental health services to Medicaid recipients.

It would give the state access to $2.7 billion in Medicaid funds to restructure how the program handles mentally ill patients. Governor Bruce Rauner says it will help create a system that focuses on early intervention.

“Most underlying challenge we have in various parts of our communities – mental health is a major driver,” Bruce says. “We gotta think more strategically, comprehensively about this. This waiver will allow us to do that.”

Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Felicia Norwood says they want to focus on a patient’s total health. She says that it is aggressive and bold.

“It’s now the time for us to really change the way that we think about healthcare in this state and we believe the waiver will give us an opportunity to do that,” Norwood says.

Rauner says the restructure would save money in the long run by avoiding more costly inpatient admissions and institutionalization.

(TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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