DECATUR, Ill. – In continuing her efforts to pass Senate Bill 3049, state Rep. Sue Scherer, D-Decatur, recently visited HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital to showcase their telehealth program, and the important mental health services that they provide.
“I am proud to sponsor this piece of legislation, because it will help make mental health services more widely available, by allowing people to speak with a professional from their home,” said Scherer. “Some Illinoisans live in very rural communities, and may have to drive hours to be able to meet with a mental health professional in person. Telehealth services will help address that issue.”
Scherer’s Senate Bill 3049 will expand Medicaid’s coverage of Telehealth mental health services to cover services provided by clinical psychologists, clinical social workers, advanced practice nurses and mental health professionals and clinicians.
“It’s important that we continue to improve healthcare access to our most vulnerable and rural residents across Illinois; passing SB3049 is an important step. The existing barriers preventing the alignment of telehealth coverage with in-person Medicaid coverage inhibit patients from receiving care at the right time and in the right setting. At the same time, these barriers to access increase the administrative and financial burden on healthcare providers, the Medicaid system and ultimately, Illinois taxpayers,” said Dr. Gurpreet Mander, Executive Director of the Illinois Telehealth Network and Chief Medical Officer of Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) St. John’s Hospital. “Through this legislation, healthcare providers and Medicaid beneficiaries with complex conditions or chronic illnesses would be able to pursue less costly care options that are simultaneously less disruptive to the beneficiary.”