NASW-IL Advocacy at Work: Gov. Signs HB 4797 Expanding Telehealth Services for Students
Updated: May 18
A measure to allow for continuity of mental health care for visitors to Illinois and nonresident Illinois college students was signed by Governor Pritzker on May 13, 2022.
Illinois State Senator Karina Villa and Illinois State Representative Lindsey LaPointe sponsored House Bill 4797 (HB 4797) which allows clients visiting Illinois to continue to see their home state social worker via telehealth while they are here in Illinois. The bill also allows nonresident students attending an Illinois college or university to continue to see their existing non-resident social worker.
“Accessible and affordable mental health care, including ongoing therapy for Illinois residents and non-residents alike, must continue to be among the top legislative priorities in Illinois. Social workers and their patients shouldn't have to be restricted by state boundaries when providing and participating in services,” said State Representative Lindsey LaPointe. "I am pleased to have championed this bill alongside my colleague Senator Karina Villa and the National Association of Social Workers, Illinois Chapter."
HB 4797 allows for a short-term visitor to Illinois to continue telehealth services with their home state therapist so long as they: 1) have a pre-existing therapeutic relationship with a therapist; 2) their therapist is licensed to practice social work in their home state; and 3) they cap the total sessions allowed in a year to 15 sessions with no more than 5 sessions occurring in any month. The bill also allows for non-resident college students to continue to see their social worker from their home state so long as they have a pre-existing therapeutic relationship with that social worker and that the student is currently enrolled in an Illinois college or university.
“We have already taken great strides toward mental health accessibility here in Illinois. This is another important step to ensure these vital resources are available to everyone in our state, resident or otherwise,” said State Senator Karina Villa. “Finding a therapist is not a one-size-fits-all situation, and it’s important that those in need are able to continue their established relationships with trusted mental health professionals.”
“Visiting Illinois or attending one of our higher education institutions should not be a barrier to continuing mental health services with your existing and trusted social worker. Modeled off of similar language in Indiana, this change will give assurances to those traveling to Illinois that care is just a telehealth session away.” Said Joel L. Rubin, executive director of the National Association of Social Workers, Illinois Chapter.
HB 4797 passed the Illinois State Senate and House with bipartisan support.
For a round-up of other bills that the NASW-Illinois Chapter pushed for during the past spring 2022 legislative session as well as other advocacy-related news, click one of the links below:
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world, with over 120,000 members. The NASW-Illinois Chapter is one of the association's largest chapters representing over 20.000 licensed Illinois social workers and school social workers, with over 5,000 active members. NASW strives to advance social work careers, grow social work businesses, and protect the profession.