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Behavioral Health

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Equitable access to behavioral health (i.e. mental health and substance use) services is essential to promoting the prosperity of all Illinoisans. Unfortunately, not all communities have access to these services.

To reduce these gaps and ensure that all Illinoisans can establish stable mental health and wellbeing, Illinois Collaboration on Youth (ICOY) seeks to strengthen the capacity of behavioral health providers and their ability to deliver services effectively. To do this, ICOY provides technical assistance, training, advocacy, and other valuable support to family-serving organizations in the following ways:

The Medicaid Technical Assistance Center (MTAC):

Medicaid provides crucial behavioral and physical healthcare services that position Illinois’ young people and families for higher-quality, more self-sufficient lives. However, when Illinois transitioned to Medicaid managed care (MMC) to improve healthcare outcomes for low-income individuals and reduce healthcare costs, the proper provider readiness supports were not put in place. This has slowed providers’ capacity to build the infrastructure needed to bill MMC, meaning that Medicaid beneficiaries experience poor network adequacy including limited or no choice of providers, and a lack of access to providers that can provide culturally competent care.

To support the billing infrastructure of behavioral health providers -- mainly their efforts to efficiently bill MMC -- ICOY has piloted Illinois’ first Medicaid Technical Assistance Center (MTAC) program. The purpose of the MTAC is to help all Illinois healthcare providers thrive in a Medicaid Managed Care billing environment. ICOY is taking a systems approach, and piloting supports for any healthcare provider who can or is serving Medicaid-eligible individuals in Illinois. We plan to ease the burden of Medicaid billing for providers at all readiness levels – from those who have never billed Medicaid, to those who are in value-based payment arrangements.

Get MTAC and Medicaid Policy Updates:

To receive updates and communications regarding the MTAC and other Illinois Medicaid policies, please subscribe to our monthly MTAC eNewsletter.  For any questions, please contact ICOY Policy Analyst Sarah Daniels.

Medicaid Billing Readiness Survey:

As Phase I of the MTAC launch we sought to understand providers’ current Medicaid capacity. ICOY surveyed 134 Illinois human service providers on their readiness to bill MMC. This snapshot provides key findings from the 2018 survey, as well as recommendations for how to help providers thrive under MMC and transform Illinois into a leader of behavioral healthcare.

Official Establishment:

As Phase II of the MTAC launch, ICOY is advocating for the establishment of Illinois’ first MTAC within the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (IDHFS).

Our Funders:

Thank you to our MTAC funders, whose generosity, vision, and responsiveness are working to ensure Illinois' Medicaid clients can access quality care in their communities from trusted organizations that understand and respect their needs, culture, and life experiences. Funders include:

The Steans Family Foundation, the Healthcare Foundation of Northern Lake County, the Conant Family Foundation, the Polk Bros. Foundation, the Grant Healthcare Foundation, the VNA Foundation, the Community Memorial Foundation, the Michael Reese Healthcare Foundation, the Illinois Department of Human Services, the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus and IlliniCare Health.

Training on Medicaid Managed Care Billing:

As a part of Phase II of the MTAC, ICOY is piloting training resources for providers. We began with the highest priority topic as indicated by our survey, to help providers bill Medicaid managed care. In February 2020 ICOY released the 12-part training series “How to Bill Medicaid Managed Care: A Training for Healthcare Providers”. Trainings are available to all Illinois providers and are not limited to ICOY members.


To help resolve providers’ MCO denied claims and ensure they get paid for their services. ICOY attends bi-weekly meetings with HFS and MCOs to present providers’ billing issues with Medicaid managed care for in-person reviews. In less than one year, ICOY has secured over $137,953 from previously denied claims back to providers.

If you’re a provider, please submit any billing issues or denied claims for review here

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