Policy change is one major way we can make a difference in the lives of people living with mental health conditions and their families. NAMI’s legislative and public policy priority is to support Americans affected by mental illness’ opportunities to build better lives. NAMI advocates for an array of issues including:
• Securing better funding for research
• Protecting people’s access to treatment and services
• Attaining mental health parity
We need you to help advocate for mental health in Illinois
How you can help
1. Find out who your legislators are
2. Formulate your specific “ask”
3. Contact them, remembering to keep it short (just mention the bill or idea and a couple sentences why they should support it)
Legislative LinksHow to Find Your Legislators
Contact Governor Bruce Rauner
Important items to contact your legislators about today:
Support HB 5285
Medicaid reimburses psychiatrists for only about one-third of the actual cost of providing the service. For example, for CPT Code 99213 (mid level office visits), the Illinois Medicaid rate is $28.35 while the Medicare rate for the same code is $77.85. This explains why so many psychiatrists don't accept Medicaid. This is especially unfortunate because many people with mental illnesses rely on Medicaid for their healthcare services. HB 5285 will raise the rate at which Medicaid reimburses psychiatrists to 95% of the Medicare rate. This will be a great help in getting better access to psychiatric services for many people living with mental illnesses in Illinois.
Support HB 4950 and SB 2951
75% of mental illnesses appear before people reach the age of 21, and 50% before age 14. Yet it takes an average of 10 years from the onset of symptoms for a person to get treatment. This bill will help set up a pilot program to get the early diagnosis & treatment going, tweak it and then roll it out statewide. Early diagnosis and treatment will help hundreds of thousands of young people get the help they need to prevent their conditions from worsening. There are better outcomes if a person's cancer is detected at stage one than at stage 4. The same is true of mental illnesses.
Restore the state funding for NAMI Illinois
NAMI Illinois does great work. Last year 36,000 people in Illinois got help through one of NAMI's signature programs. And another 23,000 people attended a presentation on mental illness by local NAMI Illinois affiliate. But in 2015 Illinois eliminated its annual grant to NAMI Illinois. As a result NAMI Illinois reduced its staff from 4 to 1.8 and increased its fund raising efforts. Even so, it has operated at a loss since 2015. And NAMI Illinois's Executive Director took a another job elsewhere. Due to its ongoing budget problems, NAMI Illinois has not replaced her. The state grant was around $160,000 annually, or 4 ten-thousandths of one-percent of the state budget. Surely the state can afford to restore that grant and keep NAMI Illinois alive and effective.
Click here to view NAMI Illinois’ 2017 Legislative Platform PDF