pink maskSPRINGFIELD – In response to the current mental health professional workforce’s struggles to keep up with increasing demand, State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) is leading a measure aimed at growing the workforce in Illinois.

“For people who are bravely taking the first steps to seek mental health care, overbooked providers are major deterrents to receiving the care they need,” Senator Fine said. “I am committed to making mental and behavioral health care more accessible for those who need it, which includes addressing the shortage of mental health providers needed for the demand we are seeing in our communities.”

In Illinois, there are only 14 behavioral health care professionals for every 10,000 Illinois residents. Many people are forced to wait longer for essential treatment or forego health care entirely because of this gap. This can be detrimental to their mental and physical well-being.

To address these issues, Senate Bill 3617 focuses on expanding the current workforce. It will accelerate the process for out-of-state clinicians applying for licensure in Illinois, as well as streamlining requirements for social workers, professional counselors, and clinical psychologists with licenses that have been inactive for five years. Additionally, it includes initiatives to support diversity in the mental health field, establishes tax credits, and many more provisions, all of which will encourage more quality, accessible care to those seeking assistance.

“Mental health is just as important as physical health,” Senator Fine said. “This measure will address the gap between available providers and potential patients so that all who are seeking mental and behavioral health care face fewer barriers in receiving treatment.”

Senate Bill 3617 passed the Senate on Wednesday. It now goes to the House for further consideration.

Category: Press Releases

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SPRINGFIELD –Under a new initiative sponsored by Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) in conjunction with the Alzheimer's association, care will be more tailored to the needs of patients with Alzheimer's disease or dementia.

“Caregivers need to be trained on how to best care for patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s, especially concerning medical and sensitivity issues that impact these patients,” Fine said. “The current regulations, which do not require this specified training, need to be changed so that people living with these conditions have the highest quality care possible.”

Over 230,000 people in Illinois are living with Alzheimer’s. Many take part in the Community Care Program, which allows seniors with or without these conditions to receive in-home and community-based service from their own homes. Employees that provide this service are currently required to complete 12 to 24 hours of training, but training specific to dementia and Alzheimer’s patients is optional.

Fine’s measure would require employees and contractors with the Department of Aging Service who provide direct service to individuals in the Community Care program to complete at least two hours of training on Alzheimer’s and dementia prior to the start of their employment. Fine believes that condition-specific training is essential to ensuring adults living with these conditions are able to be cared for and better understood.

“We need more specialized training for caregivers of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients,” Senator Fine said. “By requiring providers to complete training, I am hopeful that people living with these conditions will be able to receive the best care possible.”

Senate Bill 3707 passed the Senate last Wednesday. It now goes to the House for further consideration.

Category: Press Releases


SPRINGFIELD –Illinois will soon fund and maintain a 24-hour suicide prevention hotline available to people in crisis, thanks to legislation sponsored by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview).

“Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in our country,” Senator Fine said. “It saddens me that many of these deaths could have been prevented if mental health resources were more accessible. Providing access to behavioral and mental health resources with this hotline will be essential to saving lives.”

Senator Fine’s measure would create the Statewide 9-8-8 Trust Fund, which would be used by the Department of Human Services to establish and maintain a statewide 9-8-8 suicide prevention and mental health crisis system.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s 9-8-8 number will be live across the nation by July 2022, pursuant to the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020. However, people in crisis should continue to call the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) until then.

“Mental health is as important as physical health. There should be accessible and quality resources available in the event of an emergency,” Senator Fine said. “This initiative will make treatment in times of crisis accessible for anyone who dials 9-8-8.”

SB 2945 passed the Senate floor Wednesday. It now goes to the House for further consideration.

Category: Press Releases


SPRINGFIELD –Thanks to a new measure sponsored by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview), people with disabilities may soon be able to choose their spouse to serve as their provider of personal care instead of having to hire a personal assistant.

“Many times, a spouse must leave his or her job to care for a loved one. This results in a loss of family income,” Senator Fine said. “This measure will ensure these families are not forced to choose between the health of their loved one and financial stability.”

Currently, people with severe disabilities may hire their own personal assistant to help care for them through agreements between the patient and the Division of Rehabilitation Services. Under this agreement, DRS supplies and pays personal assistants to support designated patients. However, there is a current shortage of medical staff to fill these vacancies. This is causing many families to choose between the quality of life of disabled family members or financial stability, as many spouses are leaving the workforce to help care for their loved ones without compensation.

To address these issues, Senator Fine’s legislation allows for people with disabilities to select their spouse as their provider. This designation allows for the family to receive a paycheck as if they were the DRS employee.

“Finding the right provider for a loved one can be difficult, especially with current worker shortages,” Senator Fine said. “I am hopeful that this measure will allow people with disabilities and their families to select the best option for them financially and to meet their specific care needs.”

SB 3132 passed the Senate Wednesday. It now goes to the House for further consideration.

Category: Press Releases

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Springfield Office:
Stratton Office Building
Section C, Room N
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-2119

District Office:
1812 Waukegan Road
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Glenview, IL 60025
(847) 998-1717