Increasing Access to Psychotropic Medications

The Mental Health Summit is working with other groups to remove obstacles preventing persons with serious mental illnesses from obtaining the medications they need to treat their illnesses.  Last year the Illinois legislature passed a law limiting Medicaid recipients to four prescription medications each month.  Any person needing more than four medications must obtain permission (“prior authorization”) from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.  Unfortunately that process is excessively burdensome and many patients simply give up.  There is substantial evidence that this type of restriction harms persons with mental illnesses and actually costs Illinois taxpayers more money paying for the costs of increased hospitalizations and other negative outcomes.  Fortunately, there are several bills pending in the legislature which are designed to fix all or part of this serious problem.  The Summit urges mental health advocates and others to support the following bills.  Specifically, please ask your state senator and state representative to sign on as co-sponsors of these bills:

House Bill 2469 (Chapa Lavia) removes some psychotropic medications from the 4-drug restriction

House Bill 3671 (Flowers) would eliminate the 4-drug restriction entirely

House Bill 3688 (Harris) removes some generic psychotropic medications from the 4-drug restriction.

Senate Bill 2611 (Hastings) removes some psychotropic medications from the 4-drug restriction

The Summit is also working with other health care groups to make the prior authorization process more user friendly for physicians.  Two bills have been introduced with the goal of having a uniform and easy to use prior authorization process which would work no matter which insurance company or other third-party payer was involved.  The precise language of these bills is still being worked on.  The Summit urges advocates to watch this space for an update when these bills are ready for consideration by the legislature.  The bills in question are:

House Bill 3638 (Representative Fine)

Senate Bill 2585 (Senator Kotowski)

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