SPRINGFIELD – In a victory for northern Illinoisans with mental illnesses and their families, a plan proposed by State Senator Adriane Johnson (D-Buffalo Grove) to eliminate barriers to mental health care access has passed both houses of the Illinois government.

04142021CM03381“For many patients, being able to stay connected with loved ones during care can mean a faster recovery and a smoother transition to life after treatment,” Johnson said. “The passage of this measure is great news for northern Illinois residents, who will now be able to receive care at a location that’s more convenient for them and their families.”

The legislation would create the Interstate Contracts for Mental Health Disorder Treatment Act, allowing Illinois and Wisconsin residents who are involuntarily admitted for inpatient treatment of a mental health disorder to be treated at private facilities across state lines.

For residents who live near the border of Illinois and Wisconsin, the closest qualified hospital or facility is often not in their home state. However, current law prohibits residents from being committed for mental health conditions outside the state, meaning that these residents must undergo treatment hours from family and loved ones.

Similar collaborative arrangements have been successfully enacted in Michigan, Iowa and Minnesota, which allow providers in these states to accept patients from Wisconsin for mental health treatment.

“Expanding access to mental health treatment means making it easier for people to receive care that fits their needs,” Johnson said. “Part of that is allowing patients to seek treatment within their own communities.”

Senate Bill 1966 passed the House and Senate with unanimous support.