The Department of Healthcare and Family Services is moving forward on a new behavioral health model for the state’s Medicaid program.

Alicia Jansen, a consultant from Myers and Stauffer working with the department on its application, said during a virtual town hall this week that Illinois will submit a demonstration grant application to the federal government by next March for the certified community behavioral health clinics model. The goal is to be accepted into the demonstration by July 2024.

The program aims to link behavioral health, case management and other services together in a single site. Jansen said being part of the demonstration, which already includes 10 states, would “allow Illinois to test this model of care.”

Stakeholders said during Monday’s town hall that details are still being worked on.

“We very much plan to engage all of you, along with the trade associations, to incorporate your lessons learned,” said David Jones, the state’s chief behavioral health officer.

That includes the payment model and the number of providers that would be accepted as clinics. Kristine Herman, chief of the bureau of behavioral health at HFS, said they would move away from “payment per service to a more comprehensive payment strategy.”

She said they would pick eligible providers from those already receiving grants from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Additionally, Herman said qualifying centers would need to treat all patients, regardless of their ability to pay, their place of residence or age.

“This model is not business as usual,” she said. “It’s really pushing the Illinois behavioral health system toward integrated care for all Illinois residents.”