Illinois Governor Signs HB5868

IL Governor Rauner Signs HB 5868 Allows for Nations First Privately Insured Healthcare to Community Based Behavioral Healthcare Delivery System to Address Opioid Epidemic

To Expand Insured Opioid and Substance Abuse Impacted Populations Access To Physical Healthcare To Community Based Behavioral Healthcare Delivery System and Continuum of Care That Includes Residential Care

– Creating the Nation’s Most Innovative Public and Privately Insured Integrated System in the Nation


Chicago, IL, August 27, 2018 – Illinois Governor Bruce V. Rauner Signed House Bill 5868- Behavioral Healthcare Continuum of Care/Residential Recovery- Mental Health Parity.  This landmark legislation connects the healthcare to behavioral healthcare system, and allows state-licensed community-based behavioral healthcare recovery homes to qualify as part of the continuum of care supported by private health insurance companies for people suffering from substance use disorders and mental health diagnosis. A Safe Haven Foundation has been at the forefront, of this issue and is poised to immediately assist in its successful implementation.

With the approval of HB5868 on the heels of the recent CMS Federal approval of the 1115 Medicaid Waiver, we are extremely proud to say that Illinois now has the public and private framework needed to become the most comprehensive integrated and seamless healthcare to behavioral healthcare system in the country. By including performance metrics as part of the Bill, it will help inform and make sure that we allocate our resources to support best practices and the best modalities for achieving the highest rates of success.  If we succeed in staying true to our collective vision and mission and work towards establishing the most comprehensive standards for a healthcare to behavioral healthcare delivery system in the nation, then the State of Illinois will emerge as a leader and as a National Model in helping to address and solve the opioid epidemic with the ability to intervene at a much earlier stage in the disease on the front end with private insurance and reverse the problem for those on Medicaid with a path for getting them back to work and mainstreaming them, too.

Currently, seven states around the country have received the federal approval for the 1115 Medicaid Waiver. In Illinois, this means Medicaid is required to cover physical healthcare to behavioral healthcare services for its beneficiaries. With HB5868 and Waiver 1115, Illinois is the first state that now has codified the ability to ensure that all publicly insured and privately insured individuals; suffering from the diseases of opioid, heroin and other substance abuse disorders, are given the consistent option to get the immediate medical attention they need, and has the funding mechanism in place that will allow referrals and discharges from the medical community and a hospital institution to an appropriate state-licensed community-based setting like A Safe Haven’s residential recovery housing and other holistic services.

“Thank you to Governor Rauner and his team, due to everyone’s combined vision, courage and efforts, today, the State of Illinois has made history! We now have the unique  ability to simultaneously provide publicly and privately insured populations access to services on both ends of the spectrum, including a proactive front-end approach to prevent catastrophic consequences like job loss, homelessness and high emergency and criminal justice related costs and potential loss of life; and on the back end to help transform the lives of those caught up the system and get them back on track, promises to be our state’s best approach to help heal the root causes of addiction and get people back on track in other areas of their lives as well. HB5868 will allow ASHF to serve people while they are still employed and/or insured to mitigate and prevent catastrophic financial and social consequences – it will not only save lives, but also reduce costs.

We could not have done this without the commitment of our lead Bill Sponsors La Shawn K. Ford and Senator Tony Munoz and the Bill Co-Sponsors. Special thanks to Senator Julie Morrison, the Chair of the Illinois Human Services Committee and Senator Mattie Hunter who presented on behalf of Senate sponsor, Tony Munoz and to State Representative Greg Harris, the Chair of the Illinois Human Services Appropriation Committee and Representative Patti Bellock who served as a strong advocate in the Committee on our behalf, among others.   We also owe a huge debt of gratitude to all of the State’s elected officials who shared our concern and our vision for the importance and the urgent need of a more comprehensive and integrated system to address and solve the National opioid epidemic.  We are also extremely grateful to have enjoyed the support and partnership of the business community as strong proponents of the legislation as well which included Elliot Richardson, President of Small Business Advocacy Council and Todd Maisch, President of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and their respective members as well as our Board Members, Advisory Board Members, staff, friends, alums and supporters who made calls and gave testimony on our behalf.   This was truly a bi-partisan effort on behalf of all Illinois Citizens and all Americans in needI am so proud of the progress we have made in the State of Illinois in combatting the opioid epidemic—demonstrated through such a tremendous bipartisan effort to develop a more comprehensive and integrated system to provide easier access to treatment for those living with substance use disorders.   In a political moment which has been so greatly defined by division, this passing of this legislation is more than a beacon of hope for those suffering from addiction, it is also a symbol unity.”  ~ Neli Vazquez Rowland, President