Public Act 17-178 was just passed! This law fights discrimination by removing the requirement that healthcare professionals with a diagnosed behavioral health disorder report their diagnosis to the state Department of Public Health. Please thank the Public Health Committee co-chairs Sen. Terry Gerratana, Sen. Heather Somers, and Rep. Jonathan Steinberg for their hard work to get HB 7091 passed!
The original statute most likely prevented people who were struggling from seeking help. The assumption behind the original statute seems to have been that having a mental health disorder would prevent healthcare workers from carrying out their job effectively. In fact, many people practice all kinds of professions while dealing with anxiety and depression (the two most common disorders), and other disorders. In behavioral health, many people enter the field specifically because they have had their own lived experience with mental illness and/or substance abuse, and their experiences actually strengthen their own relationship with clients.
There are already laws on the books to protect the public safety if a professional seems to be unsafe or incompetent. We applaud the legislature for passing this bill and fighting the stigma surrounding mental illness.
In case you were wondering: Other bills that passed the House and Senate, including our bill around the psychiatric workforce, are still awaiting the Governor's signature... Stay tuned as updates become available.