SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Monday announced nearly 1,300 clinicians and other health professionals have registered with the Firearm Owner Identification (FOID) Mental Health Reporting System.
The Firearm Concealed Carry Act (PA 98-063) passed in 2013 requires a variety of clinicians and other health professionals to report patients who they believe pose a “clear and present danger” to themselves or others. The definition of “clear and present danger” was clarified and the number of health professionals required to report was expanded under the law.
IDHS accepted 1,286 registrations from clinicians in 2014. There have been 4,364 events reported by all clinicians and 138,565 events reported by all facilities last year. Facilities include hospitals and nursing homes and other facilities that have inpatient mental health treatment programs. An event is each time a patient is reported.
“The concealed carry law broadened the scope of the Illinois FOID Mental Health Reporting System in terms of who reports and what information they must report,” IDHS Acting Secretary Melissa A. Wright said. “Based on these numbers it appears that, after one year, we are getting the word out and the system is working as intended.”
The Illinois FOID Mental Health Reporting System is an online system administered by IDHS. It collects information on people in Illinois who have been declared in court to be mentally disabled; admitted to an inpatient mental health facility within the last five years; determined to be a “clear and present danger” to themselves or others or determined to be developmentally disabled.
The system mandates clinicians, mental health facilities and qualified examiners to report persons who meet any of the above criteria to IDHS within the time frames set forth in the law. A qualified examiner includes social workers, registered nurses, clinical professional counselors, and marriage and family therapists who report only if they have an additional three years of clinical experience involving evaluation and treatment with patients who have a mental illness.
IDHS then cross-references persons to the Illinois State Police (ISP) FOID database for matches, which are then reported to the ISP. ISP is then responsible for investigating and processing or rejecting the application for the FOID card. The purpose of these regulations is to save lives through common sense reform and careful oversight.
IDHS must be notified of anyone who communicates a serious threat of physical violence against a reasonably identifiable victim or poses a clear and imminent risk of serious physical injury to himself, herself or another person; or who demonstrates threatening physical or verbal behavior, such as violent, suicidal, or assaultive threats, actions, or other behavior as determined by a physician, clinical psychologist or qualified examiner. All reports must be completed via the new Illinois FOID Reporting System developed and maintained by IDHS.
Those entities required to report include hospitals, nursing homes, residential settings, and outpatient facilities. Clinicians and qualified examiners who must report include: physicians, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, clinical social workers, registered nurses, licensed clinical professional counselors, and marriage and family therapists. All reporting is confidential under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
IDHS partnered with sister state agencies and many statewide associations and others to ensure that clinicians and facilities understood the importance of the new reporting requirements.
To learn more about the Illinois FOID Mental Health Reporting System, go to https://foid.dhs.illinois.gov/foidpublic/foid/.