April 30, 2011

Dear Colleague:

Never before have the changes and the implications of decisions and policy formulation for healthcare been more dramatic, fast moving and impactful.

As Director of Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) I know that all of you share with me a fervent commitment to the highest level of healthcare quality in Illinois. Many of you, if not all, also realize the critical significance for the integration of services delivery between primary care and behavioral health care (mental health and substance abuse services) as a means to bring about improved health outcomes and wellness.

I am pleased to invite you to join me as for what I envision to be an important and worthwhile undertaking to move Illinois' health system integration agenda forward. On June 22, 2011, we are partnering with the DHS / Division of Mental Health and the DHS /Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, and the Department of Public Health (IDPH) in sponsoring, "Beginning the Conversation: A Statewide Policy Summit on Advancing Bidirectional Behavioral Health and Primary Care Integration" in Chicago, IL. It would be my pleasure to have you join us at this critical Summit.

The goals for the Summit include:

  • Providing a compelling business case and highlighting the other benefits for integrating behavioral health services to the administrative and clinical leadership of all healthcare providers including hospitals, mental health centers, substance abuse providers, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), Rural Health Centers (RHCs), physician groups and other social services support organizations and physical healthcare organizations
  • Reinforcing the need for bidirectional integrated care delivery within each local community; and
  • Jumpstarting the discussion and strategic planning between primary care and behavioral health providers and policymakers necessary to activate collaboration across our State.

Enclosed is the Summit's draft agenda for your review and consideration. We believe that our nationally renowned faculty will directly speak to the interests of both primary care and behavioral health constituencies. Full details, updates, and course materials for the Statewide Policy Summit on Advancing Bidirectional Behavioral Health & Primary Care Integration are available on the DHS Website. 

Registration for this day long Summit can be made Online Registration: Statewide Policy Summit by visiting the DHS Website.

We anticipate an audience of approximately 150 persons representing CEOs, COOs and upper level clinical leaders from primary care and behavioral health organizations across Illinois.

Mr. Michael Pelletier is the Summit's point person in developing this forum. He can be reached at

e-mail (preferred) at Michael.Pelletier@illinois.gov or at 847-894-9877. Gail Hutchings, President of the Behavioral Health Collaborative is assisting on developing the Summit and she may be contacted at GHutchings@BehavioralHealthPolicy.com.

Please feel free to contact Michael with any questions or needs for additional information on the Summit.

I hope to see you at this important event so that we all can continue this important dialogue and follow-up with planning and actions related to consumer-driven and local community needs.

Sincerely,

Julie Hamos

Director