The federal government last week signed off on Illinois’ 1115 waiver application that targets social determinants of health and behavioral health.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved the plan, which supports programs for treating substance use disorders, offering employment support for people with disabilities, violence prevention and intervention, housing and nutrition.

CMS continues to review three requests related to a grant program to fund safety-net hospitals, the redirection of some disproportionate share hospital funding to fund strategies and interventions for improving the health of underserved communities, and funding for social determinants of health assessments and training of community health workers.

It encouraged Illinois to “explore using the approved (health-related social needs) services and … infrastructure to achieve the policy goals” of programs still under review.

The approval is effective through June 2029.

Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Lizzy Whitehorn said in a statement that the approved plan “transforms and advances our state’s vision of an equitable and sustainable healthcare delivery system.”

“We thank … CMS for recognizing the connection between health-related social needs and healthcare outcomes,” she said. “The new services will be designed to bring sustainable, community-driven solutions to some of our most vulnerable residents and incorporate non-traditional providers into the Medicaid program.”

The agency said additional details will be announced later this month.

The announcement drew praise from Illinois’ two senators, who wrote to CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure this spring to urge approval.

“Expanding the reach of Illinois’s health care network is key to making reliable behavioral health services more accessible to individuals across our state,” said Sen. Tammy Duckworth. “This action by CMS helps move our state forward and ensures that we’re helping bring essential health services to Medicaid beneficiaries across Illinois.”