New laws to address growing opioid crisis

Five new state laws take steps toward addressing the state’s ongoing opioid crisis and improving access to mental health and substance abuse treatment. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, opioids were involved in 80 percent of overdose deaths in 2016. 

Included in a package of recently-signed legislation was Senate Bill 1707, which expands the definition for “mental, emotional, nervous, or substance use disorder or condition.” Under this legislation, insurance companies’ coverage for patients seeking treatment for mental health and substance abuse disorders will be improved and consumers will receive better protections from the Department of Insurance. 

Also signed into law was Senate Bill 682, which creates the Emergency Opioid and Addition Treatment Access Act, removing authorization barriers that could discourage or delay individuals seeking help for substance abuse disorders from receiving treatment.

Senate Bill 3049 expands the list of Medicaid providers eligible to receive reimbursement for Psychiatric Telehealth services allowing patients to have increased access to behavioral and mental health care.

Senate Bill 3023 creates the Community-Law Enforcement Partnership for Deflection and Addiction Treatment Act, facilitating a partnership between law enforcement agencies and licensed substance abuse service providers to address the growing opioid crisis.

Senate Bill 2951 requires the Department of Healthcare and Family Services to create pilot programs for Medicaid beneficiaries targeting early treatment for mental illness and opioid addiction.

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