Bill to extend telehealth services for Medicaid recipients awaits Pritzker’s signature

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Like so many things during the pandemic, treatment sessions for Medicaid recipients battling mental health and substance abuse went online.

With the end of the state’s COVID emergency orders, state lawmakers have passed a bill allowing those services to continue.

CEO of the Illinois Association for Behavioral Health Jud De Loss said it would help address the critical shortage of therapists at a time when the need for Medicaid services has climbed an estimated 70%.

“It would provide flexibility to the patients,” he said. “It would provide them with, possibly, some expertise in treating their condition where they otherwise couldn’t access it.”

De Loss described telehealth services, which include remote therapy sessions, as a “lifeline” for many people struggling with mental health and substance abuse challenges.

“It also provided flexibility with folks that couldn’t get into offices,” he said. “Areas where there weren’t enough providers in the community could be provided these services.”

The measure that he sees as a win-win for patients and providers is now before Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

De Loss said he hopes lawmakers also approve a rate increase for providers of residential Medicaid services — like they did for those offering out-patient treatment — before they adjourn for the session.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Andrew Harrer/Pool/Sipa USA

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May 21, 2023 at 05:41PM

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