Senate approves Johnson plan to allow Illinoisans to seek mental health care closer to home

  • State Senator Adriane Johnson (D-Buffalo Grove)Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus

    State Senator Adriane Johnson (D-Buffalo Grove)Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus

Updated 4/26/2021 8:57 AM

To eliminate barriers to mental health care access for northern Illinoisans, State Senator Adriane Johnson (D-Buffalo Grove) advanced a plan out of the Senate Wednesday to allow Illinois residents to be treated for mental health disorders at the private facility that's closest to them, even if it's across the Wisconsin border.

"For many Northern Illinois residents, getting treated in Wisconsin could allow them to stay closer to their homes and families," Johnson said. "People in our community already work in Wisconsin, patronize Wisconsin businesses and even have family there - it just makes sense that individuals should be able to receive care there, too."


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.

"Mental health treatment shouldn't take you hours away from your loved ones," Johnson said. "This legislation makes it easier for Illinois residents to receive care that fits their needs."

Senate Bill 1966 passed the Senate with bipartisan support and now heads to the House.

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