The Summit is in the process of developing detailed policy recommendations concerning the key issues in mental health policy. The links below connect to those policies which have been developed. However, the main problems in Illinois cut across all of these areas. They are:
- The lack of funding for mental health services. We cannot fix the mental health system when we rank no better than 35th among the 50 states in per capita spending on mental health services. The lack of funding for mental health services is caused in part by the state’s structural funding problems. The Summit supports efforts to extend the state income tax increase which will otherwise expire at the end of 2014 and efforts to amend the Illinois Constitution to permit a progressive income tax.
- The lack of coordination among mental health service providers. Illinois needs a mental health authority with responsibility to insure continuity of care and accountability for outcomes as persons with mental illnesses are cared for in public and private hospitals, nursing homes, community agencies and in the criminal justice system.
Current issues facing persons with mental illnesses in Illinois include:
- Restrictions on access to psychotropic medications
- The movement to managed care for the Illinois Medicaid program. Medicaid is the largest source of funding for mental health services in Illinois. For more details see Medicaid Reform and Managed Care Proposals.
- The neeed to develop a comprehensive Section 1115 Medicaid waiver to help fund a broader array of community services.
- Continued efforts to move persons with mental illnesses out of nursing homes and insure that an appropriate array of services is available to these persons in the community.
- Efforts to insure that funds realized by the sale of the land under closed state psychiatric hospitals are reinvested in mental health services.