A proposal to address the mental health workforce shortage is one step closer to its way out of the General Assembly after a House committee signed off on it Thursday.
The plan by Rep. Deb Conroy, D-Villa Park, would make it easier for behavioral health workers with inactive or expired licenses to return to work and provide tax incentives for employers who hire individuals in recovery from a substance use disorder or mental illness.
It would also create an advisory council to advise the state regarding the employment of those with mental illnesses and substance use disorders in minority communities.
Blanca Campos, vice president of public policy and government affairs at the Community Behavioral Healthcare Association of Illinois, told the House’s Appropriations-Human Services Committee the proposal is vital to the industry.
“(The bill) will help to rebuild our state’s behavioral health workforce and ensure that kids, adults and families and communities across our state have access to timely quality and culturally appropriate behavioral health services,” she said.
Though he supported the plan, Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, said he was concerned about how the disclosure works for the employer tax credit. Specifically, he said it could put employers in a difficult position to ask for that information, and the individual may see it as an invasion of their privacy.
“We want to make sure we’re not putting people in an uncomfortable spot by their employer looking to claim a tax credit,” Demmer said.
Campos said individuals would self-disclose to their employer.
The plan, approved last month by the Senate, heads to the full house for a final vote.