Local Issues Director: Lois Walter, The League of Women Voters of Glen Ellyn
Our chapter of the League follows major issues of interest to our membership; each area is the responsibility of a local issues director. They track legislation and items of particular timely interest. Our Observer Corps attends meetings to report back to the board and members on key issues.
LATEST REPORT: September 19, 2018
HB5770 passed August 28,2018 sponsored by State Representative District 46 Deb Conroy. Congratulations to her on its passage.
In summary the bill provides, beginning with the 2019-2020 school year, that all Illinois school boards shall publish in student handbooks ,newsletters and post on its internet website the possible eligibility to receive mental health services of those students with disabilities who do not qualify for an individualized education plan They may qualify under a federal Section 504 plan.
TWO RESOURCES FOR HELPING THOSE IN CRISIS
MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID.ORG
An 8 hour course that teaches how to help someone who may be experiencing a mental health or substance abuse challenge. For further information go to website.
ILLINOIS WARM LINE 1 866 359 7953 (Monday -Friday 8:00am-5:00pm)
Staffed by individuals in recovery from mental health/substance use conditions who have been trained in support, advocacy ,mentoring and professional responsibility. Also see Website Illinoismentalhealthcollaborative.com
STATE SENATE APPROVES HB 0772 LETHAL VIOLENCE ORDER OF PROTECTION ACT (LVOP)
State Senator Chris Nybo co-sponsored legislation that provides that a family member or law enforcement officer can petition a court for LVOP when there is substantial likelihood that the person will cause personal harm to him or herself or to others by owning or possessing a firearm. Court considerations provided in the legislation include- recent threats or actions; violation of a order of protection; conviction of violent offense(s) in last 12 months.
The House is scheduled to consider this legislation this week. League members are strongly urged to call your state representative and urge passage of this legislation.
WEBSITE FOR LEARNING ABOUT MORE ABOUT DUPAGE NEEDS, and GAPS
Impact Dupage recently released a community needs assessment 2018 which indicated county residents who were surveyed said the three most important health concerns in DuPage are drug abuse (44 percent), mental health (43 percent), and too much screen time/technology use (21 percent). The Impact Dupage Steering Committee plans to address Behavioral Health Issues in 2019-2021.The question to be addressed. "How to strengthen prevention and treatment in Dupage County?" They plan to collaborate with various helping organizations in the County.
Finally, two of our new Glen Ellyn League members, Carol Scinto and Betty Chaggaris along with Betty's husband Ron have been appointed consultants to the County Health Department. (They are long time community mental health and group home advocates.)
*A recently released government report states that opioid overdose Emergency Room cases increased 30% in a one-year period, summer 2016 to summer 2017. Overdose deaths also increased.
NAMI reports that:
*1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experience mental illness in a given year
*90% of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness
*70% of youth in juvenile justice system have at least one mental health condition, and limited access to care and support
Given these statistics, why is it that state & federal funding for mental health programs has and continues to significantly decrease? We need to make our voices heard on this issue. It makes economic sense given the cost to society of not addressing these issues.
Sources: DuPage County Daily Herald, Chicago Tribune, NAMI website
STATE OF ILLINOIS: PROPOSED LEGISLATION
Several bills have been introduced in this new state legislative session that will impact those with developmental disabilities and those with mental illness, as well as, organizations and agencies who provide services to these people.
*State Reimbursement Rates for Support Staff:
Senate Bill 3508 and House Bill 5622 address an issue that has resulted in a critical shortage of direct support professionals (DSPs) who provide important services to those with developmental disabilities and/or those who have mental illness. DSPs include nurses, qualified intellectual disability professionals, front line supervisors, aids, and support staff.
Agencies and organizations who provide services have a very difficult time recruiting and retaining DSPs because of the low reimbursement rate the state pays to compensate for the wages of these workers. Presently, DSPs make $10.59 an hour, below what is considered to be a living wage. SB3508 and HB 5622 would raise the DSP base wages to $13.50 by July 1 and to $15 by July 1, 2020.
Those who receive Medicaid, including those with developmental disabilities and those who have mental illness, do not have dental insurance coverage. As a result, those who receive Medicaid must find a dentist who is willing to provide care, free of charge. This is in spite of the fact that dental care is known to be essential to overall health.
House Bill 4347 and Senate Bill 2429 would require the Department of Healthcare and Family Services to provide dental services to adults eligible for Medicaid. In addition, it would prohibit health care plans from limiting dental services for those receiving Medicaid.
*Personal Needs Allowance:
Presently, those with developmental disabilities who live in intermediate care facilities or in community-integrated living settings in Illinois are only allowed to keep $60 from their Social Security Income (SSI) each month. The remainder must be applied to the cost of their residential services. This means that a person receiving SSI has only $60/month for all of their “personal need” expenditures, such as, clothes, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, haircuts, snacks, movie rentals. HB4852 would amend the Medical Assistance Article of the Illinois Public Aid Code. It would provide that the Monthly Personal Needs Allowance would be no less than 15% of a person’s monthly SSI for the previous year, beginning in October of this year.
OFFICIAL POSITION OF THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF ILLINOIS:
MENTAL HEALTH: The League supports a comprehensive and coordinated system of treatment and rehabilitation services for adults and children with mental illness. There should be adequate funding, planning, program standards, and personnel training requirements for both state facilities and community programs. The League supports a broad array of adequate and accessible community services. Although primary responsibility should rest with the state, funding from local, federal, and non-governmental sources should be encouraged. A system of local boards to levy taxes, administer all funds, and to plan and coordinate services should be required throughout the state. The State should require local governments to provide in their zoning ordinances for residential programs for persons with mental illness.