Two lawmakers, Rep. Deb Conroy (D-Villa Park) and Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago), are sponsoring legislation – House Bill 2486 and Senate Bill 1673 – that would ramp up state mental health funding and change the funding structure to incentivize good results over flat service fees.

“Thousands of Illinois families … are victims of our mental health crisis,” Conroy, who heads the House Mental Health Committee, said Monday in a news release. “By creating a multiyear solution to reinvest and restructure our mental health programs with targeted, federally matched dollars, we can provide renewed hope to the millions affected.”

Most of the services targeted by the bills are Medicaid services, for which the federal government matches funding.

“The phase-in of rates that would enable growth of [mental health services] would happen slowly over a four-year period,” said Heather O’Donnell, who drafted the legislation and is vice president at Chicago-based mental health group Thresholds.

In year one, Illinois would provide $3.4 million of new funding, to be matched by the federal government. In year two, $5.7 million; in year three, $10.7 million; and in year four, $13 million.

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