SPRINGFIELD– State Rep. Lindsey LaPointe, Sen. Sara Feigenholtz, other legislators, mental health advocates, and psychiatrists met Thursday, Mar. 7, at 11 a.m. in the Capitol’s Blue Room to discuss the importance of House Bill 2456/Senate Bill 1636. The legislation seeks to remove prior authorization and other utilization management controls of medications for Illinois Medicaid patients suffering from serious mental illness, including bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia.

Illinoisans face several barriers to mental health care, in particular Medicaid patients. The need for preauthorization stunts access to continuing care while also burdening our overtaxed behavioral healthcare workforce. Key testimony was provided by Lily Rocha, Associate VP of Policy, NAMI Chicago; Mark Heyrman, Facilitator, Mental Health Summit; Dr. Andrew J. Lancia, MD, President of the Illinois Psychiatric Society, and others, who highlighted the challenges in providing effective treatment for mental illness due to prior-authorization red tape.

If passed, House Bill 2456/Senate Bill 1636 would allow for more seamless care following institutionalization and hospitalization. Over 15 states have removed prior authorization and/or step therapy barriers in their Medicaid programs. There is currently no research demonstrating that prior authorization/step therapy requirements have any benefits for those living with serious mental illness.

“We must ensure our low-income Illinoisians who have been treated in a hospital setting, once stabilized, can leave the hospital with the comfort of seamlessly accessing their life-saving treatment and medications in their daily life,” said LaPointe. “When you are one of the 403,000 Illinoisans suffering from serious mental illness, such as bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia, the delay in days or even weeks because of prior authorization is a matter of life and death. We must fix this for patients.”

“We applaud Rep. LaPointe, Sen. Feigenholtz, and the Governor for bringing this issue to the

forefront,” said Mark Heyrman, Mental Health Summit. “It is critical to the well-being of patients to prohibit the use of prior authorization and step therapy for the large number of Illinoisans with mental health conditions who are living in the community.”

“Prior authorization and fail first policies are harmful to people requiring medical intervention to manage their mental illness. This barrier to necessary medications only makes it harder for individuals to live in recovery,” said Lily Rocha, NAMI Chicago. “We’ve heard from many Chicagoans who need medication for their mental health condition and have been waiting several weeks now for insurance approval. For so many of these individuals, state legislators must take action now to ensure Illinoisans can access the medications they need to thrive.”

“We applaud Rep. LaPointe, Sen. Feigenholtz, and the Governor for putting a spotlight on the dangers to patients of delayed mental health care and treatment because of prior authorization and the impact on our workforce and the time it takes away to treat patients,” said Dr. Andrew J. Lancia, Illinois Psychiatric Society. “Our hope is the legislature and Governor will consider prohibiting prior authorization and step therapy in the outpatient setting, especially Medicaid. We should be fighting our patients’ illnesses, not their insurance companies.”

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


Rep. Lindsey LaPointeRep. Lindsey LaPointe

19th District

Springfield Office:
275-S Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
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District Office:
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Chicago, IL 60641
(773) 647-1174