SPRINGFIELD– State Rep. Lindsey LaPointe, Sen. Sara Feigenholtz, other legislators, mental health advocates, and psychiatrists will hold a press conference on Thursday, Mar. 7, at 11 a.m. in the Capitol’s Blue Room. Participants will discuss the importance of House Bill 2456/Senate Bill 1636, which would remove prior authorization and other utilization management controls of medications for Illinois Medicaid patients suffering from serious mental illness.

Over 1,750,000 adults across Illinois have a mental health condition — totaling more than 15x the population of the state’s capitol city of Springfield. Illinois faces a unique challenge when providing access to mental health resources, including access to critical medications that treat serious mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia. As Chairperson of the House Mental Health & Addiction Committee, LaPointe has led efforts, in tandem with State Senator Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), to combat the current behavioral health crisis, introducing this legislation specifically to improve open access to mental health medications for Medicaid patients.

“The current prior authorization restrictions disincentivize many Medicaid patients seeking critical care across the state. Slashing this unnecessary red tape for doctors and patients is the next step we must take when it comes to not only sustaining but reaching our goal of expanding mental health care here in Illinois,” said LaPointe. “House Bill 2456 grants us the opportunity to take that vital step in improving access to care for Medicaid patients with serious mental illness. Current barriers delay treatment, exacerbate symptoms, and can have devasting consequences for individuals in need of immediate support and relief.”

“It’s time for policy and budget makers to re-examine the barriers of prior authorization for Illinois patients and doctors. The well-being of patients and providers must be our top priority, and this current policy does not benefit them. It is hurting them,”  said Feigenholtz. “Ask any doctor what their number one stressor is — and they will tell you it is fighting with insurance companies about prior authorization and appealing decisions. This regressive prior authorization policy has not done much but increase hospitalizations, destabilize patients, and drive providers away from serving Medicaid patients.”

Speakers include:

  • State Representative Camille Y. Lilly
  • State Senator Karina Villa
  • Mark Heyrman, Facilitator, Mental Health Summit
  • Andrew J. Lancia, MD, President of the Illinois Psychiatric Society
  • Lily Rocha, Associate VP of Policy, NAMI Chicago
  • Melissa Frick, Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse, Josselyn Center

For more information, please contact Info@RepLaPointe.com or 773-647-1174.

Who: State Rep. Lindsey LaPointe, State Sen. Sara Feigenholtz, mental health advocates, and others

What: Mental Health Press Conference

When: Thursday, Mar. 7, 11 a.m.

Where: Blue Room, Capitol Building