IRG Action Fund Applauds the Release of Common Sense Mental Health Reform
Legislation increases access to mental health services without costing taxpayers.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 28, 2023
DELAFIELD, WI – Today, Representative Gustafson (R-Neenah) and Senator Cabral-Guevara (R-Appleton) released new legislation that will increase the availability and supply of mental health services for Wisconsinites. The legislation mirrors the effect of a now expired order from Governor Evers at the beginning of the pandemic.
WHAT IS IT. Current law does not allow for a mental health provider to practice in Wisconsin without being licensed by the state. However, at the start of the pandemic, Governor Evers issued Emergency Order 16. Among other things, the order allowed for mental health providers to practice in Wisconsin without being licensed in Wisconsin. As highlighted in an op-ed written earlier this year, allowing these providers to practice within the scope of their home state’s certification meant Wisconsinites were able to access mental health professionals from other states via telehealth.
WHY IT MATTERS. Wisconsin is facing a mental health crisis. Data from the National Institute of Mental Health shows that nationally, almost 23% of adults are living with mental health issues, and that increases to 49.5% for children between the ages of 13-18. At the same time, a 2019 Department of Health Services report estimates that 47% of adults with mental illness are unserved and demand has been outpacing supply since the start of the pandemic.
“Allowing professionals from outside of Wisconsin to practice in our state will help to alleviate the current shortage of mental health services that we are facing. This will increase the availability and access to mental health services without costing Wisconsin taxpayers one dime. I call on our lawmakers in Madison to take up this bipartisan bill and send it to Governor Evers’ desk this fall.”
– CJ Szafir, CEO IRG Action Fund
WHAT’S NEXT. The legislation introduced yesterday is being circulated with lawmakers for co-sponsponsership. IRG Action supports this legislation. Read our memo to lawmakers here.