The Illinois Senate approved various healthcare proposals last week, including one to implement recommendations made earlier this year in the children’s behavioral health blueprint laid out by Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration.
The bill by Sen. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago, would establish a centralized intake portal that can provide families guidance and referrals to state and community-based programs for which they are eligible. The plan would create a navigator assistance program and lay the foundation for an effort to provide annual mental health screenings to all K-12 students in the state.
“The importance of this roadmap to appropriate treatment cannot be overstated,” Feigenholtz said in a statement after the vote. “This work is transformative and will be a game changer for children’s behavioral health in Illinois.”
Lawmakers also approved legislation by Sen. Laura Fine, D-Glenview, that would create repercussions for employees found to not have reported incidents of resident abuse or neglect at state-operated mental health facilities. Fine said her plan comes after staff members at Choate Mental Health and Developmental Center in Anna were reported to have abused patients.
“It is the responsibility of the state to protect our most vulnerable from abuse and neglect,” Fine said. “This legislation will be an important tool to deter further atrocities from taking place.”
The chamber also passed a bill by Sen. Omar Aquino, D-Chicago, that would make professional licenses for home health, home services and home nursing agencies valid for 240 days, rather than 120 days. It would allow new agencies to receive a provisional license for up to 90 days, with a goal of offering services on demand for thousands of patients who require in-home critical care.
“The need we have in Illinois for healthcare professionals that can support families with a loved one in need of in-home care should be addressed, and that’s what this bill does,” Aquino said.
And lawmakers approved a bill from Sen. David Koehler, D-Peoria, that would allow individuals to bring legal action against healthcare providers that knowingly or intentionally use their own reproductive cells without the patient’s informed written consent.