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Morrison: Illinois needs centralized behavioral health plan

morrison030320SPRINGFIELD – Since the demand for behavioral health services has grown and the behavioral health workforce is still experiencing shortages, a task force was created to study the crisis. Findings from the study were shared with State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) and the Senate Human Services Committee Tuesday.

“This has been a major concern in Illinois for years, but as a demand for service grows and the workforce diminishes, it has gained an even greater sense of urgency,” Morrison said.

Among the recommendations outlined by the task force was a plan for creating the Illinois Behavioral Health Workforce Education Center to lead a cross-agency, cross-sectorial strategy to improve access to a qualified, diverse workforce.

The center would be structured as a hub-and-spoke model, linking academic institutions that serve rural and small urban areas and at least one academic institution serving the densely urban Chicago-area.

A central location in an academic institution would be tasked with convening and coordinating role for workforce research and planning, including monitoring progress toward goals for the center.

“I am happy to hear the group come forward with a comprehensive analysis of the issues facing the behavioral health workforce,” Morrison said. “I am hopeful stakeholders will continue to work diligently to fill the void.” 

Morrison honors victims of Milwaukee shooting

morrison 022720SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) took a moment to rise on the Senate floor Thursday to honor and recognize the victims of Wednesday’s shooting at the Molson Coors plant in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Morrison asked the body to take a moment of silence to honor the victims of the tragedy.

Below are the senator’s floor remarks:

“Yesterday, five people tragically lost their lives in Milwaukee after a man opened fire on the Molson Coors plant before turning the gun on himself.

“Such violence is senseless. Six families went to bed last night mourning the loss of a loved one. Those families, and all the families who have lost someone to gun violence, need us right now.

“We can all recognize these tragic events are happening far too regularly. No one should have to fear for their safety when they go to school, the grocery store or even work. When will we have enough?

“I ask that you please stand silently for a moment of reflection and respect. Words do not adequately express the tremendous grief I feel as I have to make this speech once again.”

Morrison measure expands dental care for people with developmental disabilities

morrison 021820SPRINGFIELD – Dental hygiene is directly linked to a person’s overall health, but many Illinoisans aren’t receiving the proper care they need due to the high cost of treatment or because the lack of coverage for anesthesia. State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) hopes to curb the price of dental care by requiring Medicaid to extend its coverage.

Two bills attempting to address dental care services that are either not covered or under-reimbursed by Medicaid were part of a subject matter hearing in the Senate Human Services Committee Tuesday.

Senate Bill 2484 expands coverage of dental care and anesthesia for those with autism or a developmental disability to make those individuals more comfortable when visiting the dentist.

“Going to the dentist can be uncomfortable for anyone, but the stress is amplified for children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities,” Morrison said. “Some patients with developmental disabilities are unable to endure regular dental exams or cleanings without general anesthesia. This measure will help more people be able to afford the treatment they need.”

According to the Journal of the American Dental Association, because it is difficult for them to get treatment, people with developmental disorders suffer “a high burden of dental disease.” More than 30% of the patients studied suffered from untreated cavities and 80% from serious gum infections.

Additionally, the measure requires Medicaid to cover dental care, including anesthesia, that is provided in a hospital or surgical treatment center for any individual with a medical condition that requires hospitalization or general anesthesia.

“Keeping a healthy set of teeth is more important than people think,” Morrison said. “Many diseases and conditions have a direct correlation to dental health. Making sure teeth get the attention they need is an important part of an individual’s overall well-being.”

Morrison is also spearheading Senate Bill 2493, which specifies Medicaid reimbursement rates for anesthesia-related services. For example, under the measure, moderate sedation would be at a reimbursement rate of $181 and deep sedation would be at a rate of $214. This might incentivize more dentists to accept Medicaid.

Morrison statement on the commutation of Rod Blagojevich’s sentence

Sen. Julie A. MorrisonSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) released the following statement after former Gov. Rod Blagojevich was commuted by President Donald Trump Tuesday:

“The commutation of Rod Blagojevich’s sentence by President Trump is yet another reason ethics reform must be passed at both the state and federal level. We must pass ethics reform during this legislative session to ensure we never have another case like Blagojevich’s. We must also hold elected officials to the highest standards and work to end political corruption.”

Sen. Julie Morrison

morrison 150

29th Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Environment and Conservation; Human Services (Chairperson); Public Health (Vice-Chairperson); Transportation; Oversight Medicaid Mang. Care, Spec; Local Government.

Biography: Born in Beardstown; received a bachelor's degree from Knox College; served as supervisor of West Deerfield Township, married to husband Joe with three grown children.

Associated Representatives:
Jonathan Carroll
Bob Morgan