Rep. Feigenholtz Wins National Behavioral Health Award

(Springfield, IL) – A veteran Illinois lawmaker and long-time legislative champion of mental health care and substance abuse treatment, State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), has won a prestigious national award for her advocacy in the state legislature, according to a top Illinois behavioral health leader.

Feigenholtz has been selected by the National Council for Behavioral Health – from among 230 other candidates from across the country – as the group’s recipient of the “2019 Excellence in Advocacy” by an elected official, says Illinois Association for Behavioral Health CEO Sara Howe who nominated Feigenholtz for the award.

“State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz has been a passionate champion of addiction and mental health services throughout her 24-year legislative career,” said Howe. “In 2018 alone, she carried that commitment forward by successfully sponsoring multiple bills that significantly advanced behavioral health in Illinois, including measures that targeted patient brokering, strengthened Illinois’ mental health parity law, and removed prior authorization requirements previously required by health plans and managed care organizations for most treatment services.”

Feigenholtz is the second Illinois lawmaker in the last three years to snag the 3,000-member National Council’s advocacy award. In 2016, former Illinois House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang (D-Skokie) won.

“The National Council for Behavioral Health’s advocacy award represents a significant honor,” said Feigenholtz, who sits on the executive board of the Kennedy Forum of Illinois, a non-profit with the goal of ending the stigma and discrimination against people with mental health and addiction challenges.”Bringing our personal stories of addiction and mental illness into the legislative arena is the fuel that drives legislative reform, and rest assured that I am just getting started.”

The National Council’s president & CEO Linda Rosenberg also hailed Feigenholtz.

“The National Council’s Awards of Excellence honor the best and the brightest in behavioral health. A passionate champion of addiction and mental health services throughout her legislative career makes Rep. Sara Feigenholtz the natural choice for the 2019 Excellence in Advocacy by an Elected Official Award,” said Linda Rosenberg, president & CEO at the National Council. “She is not afraid to stand up for her constituents and last year’s successes on opioid treatment and parity prove she is a leader for our field.”

Feigenholtz will officially receive the award in Nashville at the Gaylord Opryland & Convention Center on March 26 during the National Council’s annual awards ceremony.

Sara Howe, sara@ilabh.org 

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