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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

Illinois Works To Expand Medicaid To Include Behavioral Health Care


Mental health centers were devastated during the Illinois extended budget stalemate. However, the state is working to expand behavioral health services to people who can’t afford them.  

Dr. Cari Wolf says Illinois is where Texas used to be.

“It was common to have people experiencing a mental health crisis languish in ERs for days. Law enforcement spent hours responding to mental health crises and trying desperately to link people with services.”

Then, Wolf says Texas got permission from the federal government to change how the state runs Medicaid.

Wolf says doctors began screening for depression and substance abuse.  They were linked to telepsychiatry programs, and there were services for kids in schools.

Now, she's the Chair of Psychiatry at the Southern Illinois University medical school in Springfield. She supports the attempt to do something similar in Illinois. The state submitted an application which, if granted, would link Medicaid recipients’ physical and behavioral health care beginning in July.

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.