Illinois lawmakers and experts meet to discuss behavioral health workforce shortage

Dr. Kari Wolf speaks at 2022 Telehealth ConferenceThe Illinois House Mental Health and Addiction and the Senate Behavioral and Mental Health committees met on January 25 to discuss the shortage of behavioral health care workers across the state at the first of two joint hearings on the topic.

“It is not uncommon for patients to wait several months to see a therapist, more than six months to see a psychiatrist and over a year for neuropsychological testing,” said Dr. Kari Wolf, Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at SIU School of Medicine and CEO of the Illinois Behavioral Health Workforce Center, during the hearing.

To address the shortage and retention issues, Dr. Wolf recommended expanding pathways for mentorship and training programs, increasing insurance reimbursement rates for behavioral health services, and working through barriers such as a burdening licensing process, unpaid internships and the high cost of obtaining a college degree.

Read the full WAND story.