Bellock focuses on behavioral health at Medicaid revamp plan hearing
Rep. Patricia Bellock's (R-Hinsdale) is in the Medicaid managed care organization (MCO) revamp plan until the end.
The deputy Republican leader ended 2017 and began 2018 attending yet another House Appropriations-Human Services Committee hearing order to finalize the $60 billion MCO and commercial insurance revamp plan to increase managed care to Medicaid patients.
From working out consent decrees resolving the 2011 N.B. v. Norwood lawsuit brought against the state for not providing sufficient behavioral health care to adolescents to addressing mental health and substance abuse parity compliance at the last meeting in December, Bellock’s latest concerns dealt with behavioral health management.
“One of the main ideas of the managed care was to be able to take the population that never had a medical home or a primary care physician and to give them that opportunity to have that,” Bellock said.
Bellock said the ultimate MCO goal is providing long-term care.
“In order to go into that integration and continuity of care you would take people out of emergency rooms and be able to provide them that medical home so that they would not just get two weeks of a prescription, especially regarding behavioral health and addiction, so that in turn would provide prevention and wellness,” Bellock said.
Marvin Lyndsey, CEO of the Community Behavioral Healthcare Association, a statewide trade group of health care providers for mental health and addiction services that manages 60,000 Illinoisans daily, discussed the reality of Bellock’s concerns.
“We have a workforce emergency in our state for behavioral health care," Lindsey said. "There is a need for a lot of changes to retain staff and to expand the kind of staff that is needed in the environment we have right now,” Lyndsey said, following his argument with a tragic tale.
“A lady brought her son to treatment and they told her they did not have a bed for her and to come back in a month, and she called back two weeks later and said you can take my son off the list now because he overdosed and died last night,” Lyndsey said. “That’s the kind of thing that is happening."
“That is a sad, sad story,” Bellock said, adding changes in the industry have caused ongoing turmoil. “In regards to the entire managed care issue that we have had in the last couple of years ... major changes in health care that we have had in all respects, and not just the state of Illinois, but all of America with the Affordable Care Act, the expansion and a lot of other issues.”