Now is the time to show support for Mental Health Services

Posted over 2 years ago by Teresa Kodiak in Legislative Update

Good Evening,

As you know, over the last two years pediatric mental health in the state of Illinois has evolved into a health crisis.  Thousands of children and adolescents are on wait lists for mental health outpatient services across the state of Illinois.  Low Medicaid reimbursement to hospitals for children and adolescent mental health has made it difficult to provide the necessary resources to meet these needs.   Tomorrow is the day HB 4594, a bill that would double the reimbursement for hospital-based outpatient mental health services for children and adolescents, is being considered by state legislators.  Because this is such an important topic, we asked to a pediatric mental health expert to give us a deeper look into the issue.  Dr. Barbara Suplit, DNP, APRN, CPNP-PC, PMHS, is the Interim Associate Chief Nursing Officer for Advanced Practice Providers and has worked in the Department of Psychiatry for 20 years at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.  Her focus on Emergency Psychiatry/Crisis Stabilization and Psychopharmacology services for chronically and terminally ill children makes her the perfect candidate to further educate NAPNAP members on the context of this bill.   

“When we think about outpatient mental health services, one must think of a very broad net, from diagnostic evaluations, parent training, medication evaluation & management services, group therapy, individual therapy, family therapy as well as Intensive Outpatient services and Partial Hospital Programs.  All of these services are billed as outpatient services. YES, they are ALL BILLED UNDER THE UMBRELLA OF OUTPATIENT SERVICES!  Many of these services require more than one clinician or service provider, and all of these needed services can be incredibly costly and cannot be provided in a “10 minute visit” like other service lines.  Many institutions will not accept Medicaid as the reimbursement rate is extremely low, and so outpatient psychiatric services for patients with Medicaid are limited and now have very long waiting lists. 

Mental health services in the state of Illinois are at a crisis point due to the intense waiting list for services, due to many places closing or changing their reimbursement structure.  This legislation would allow institutions who accept Medicaid to be reimbursed at a more competitive rate, with the potential to add more clinicians and services to address this dire mental/behavioral health crisis affecting children and adolescents in our state.

So please support this legislation, the children and adolescents of Illinois need it desperately.“

Your Illinois Chapter of NAPNAP agrees, and we would like to urge you to show your support for this bill by contacting your local representative

As always, thank you for advocating for the children and families of Illinois.


Your Illinois NAPNAP Legislative Chair,

Teresa Kodiak, APRN, MSN, FNP-BC