aquino 061724SPRINGFIELD — Illinois will boost reimbursement for critical health services supporting vulnerable children and families, thanks to a new law led by State Senator Omar Aquino aimed at strengthening the Medicaid system.

“In Illinois, we are advancing equity by investing in the residents and health care providers who deserve a better system that meets their needs,” said Aquino (D-Chicago). “These much-needed rate increases will support safety net hospitals, children’s health centers, mental health providers and programs that ensure the health and well-being of vulnerable children and families across our state.”

The new law makes significant improvements to reimbursement rates and add-on payments to support the full spectrum of health care needs in Illinois, including increased funding for psychiatric care, skilled nursing facilities, children’s community health centers, birth centers, prosthetics and orthotics, optometry services and safety net hospitals, which serve some of the state’s most vulnerable populations.

Further, the law takes a significant step toward reducing barriers to mental health treatment by eliminating prior authorization for medications used to treat serious mental health disorders. It also lifts up the work often taken for granted by unpaid caregivers who care for those with disabilities in their family. The law provides that they can be reimbursed for family caregiving services they provide to a medically complex child.

The measure also creates new transparency requirements for pharmacy benefit managers, streamlines prior authorization for emergency services and allows residents of supportive living facilities to keep more money in their pockets without being deemed ineligible to receive continued Medicaid services.

“By increasing the amount received by providers and eliminating insurance denials for mental health drugs, we have the opportunity to work through the mental health crisis we are facing today,” said Aquino. “The effects of the pandemic are still with us, and it is through investments like these that we can support our community and better the mental and physical health of Illinois residents.”

Senate Bill 3268 was signed into law Friday and goes into effect immediately.