Illinois' new law to tackle mental health staff shortages: tax credits, grants and more

Illinois's new law implements incentives such as tax credits and grants and allows practitioners out of the industry for less than five years to reinstate their licenses to combat the shortage of mental health professionals, local news source WGEM reported June 10.

The law was passed in the state Senate and House with unanimous bipartisan support April 8 and signed into law June 10.

Some key components of the law:

  1. Will give a recovery and mental health tax credit for qualified employers who hire people recovering from addiction and mental illness
  2. Allows psychologists, therapists, social workers and crisis counselors in good standing to reactivate their license if they have been out of the industry for less than five years
  3. Allows advanced practice registered nurses to conduct psychiatric visits with patients if a physician isn't available

Illinois' Department of Human Services mental health division will award new grants and contracts for people pursuing behavioral health positions and create an advisory council to work with the agency to look into the effects of mental illness and substance use on job opportunities in minority communities.

"It is frustrating to hear that patients who are seeking in-patient treatment are denied care, despite having empty beds, only because there's simply not enough providers available to offer them the quality and experienced care that they deserved," Illinois Sen. Laura Fine, a sponsor of the law, told WGEM. "This law works to change that."

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