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Illinois Medicaid Comprehensive Assessment of Needs and Strengths

The IM+CANS is designed to support the Medicaid service of Integrated Assessment and Treatment Planning (IATP).  As Illinois seeks to raise clinical standards and improve access to services to better serve the state’s population, PATH is here to provide dedicated and ongoing training and support to all Medicaid enrolled front line behavioral health practitioners and supervisors.

What is IM+CANS?

The Illinois Medicaid Comprehensive Assessment of Needs and Strengths (IM+CANS) is a unique model for integrating assessment and treatment planning into a single process, built for Illinois in consultation with Dr. Lyons and his team, and with input from state agency partners.  The comprehensive IM+CANS is a lifespan tool that provides a standardized, modular framework for assessing the global needs and strengths of individuals who require mental health treatment in Illinois.  Today, the IM+CANS platform is inclusive of the following:

  • A complete set of core and modular CANS items, addressing domains such as Risk Behaviors, Trauma Exposure/Adverse Childhood Experiences, Behavioral/Emotional Needs, Life Functioning, Substance Use, Developmental Disabilities, and Cultural Factors;
  • A fully integrated mental health assessment and treatment plan;
  • An integrated physical Health Risk Assessment (HRA);
  • A population-specific addendum for youth involved with the child welfare system; and,
  • A crisis subset of CANS items, referred to as the Illinois Medicaid Crisis Assessment Tool (IM-CAT), used to screen and assess individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis.


The IM+CANS tool is a customized version of the CANS tools used in multiple states and countries. CANS tools are proven to be reliable and valid, and provide the kind of information providers need to best serve behavioral health populations. The IM+ CANS is the foundation of Illinois’ efforts to transform the state’s community-based behavioral health system. The tool establishes a standardized way of identifying needs and strengths of individuals that present seeking behavioral health treatment.  Additionally the tool builds a common language, easily understood by consumers, families, providers, and payers – reducing barriers to care.

Who uses the IM+CANS?

Certified staff that qualify as a Mental Health Professional (MHP), a Qualified Mental Health Professional (QMHP) or a Licensed Professional of the Healing Arts (LPHA) in the state of Illinois and who provide services under the Illinois Medical Assistance Program.

How do I get certified to use the IM+CANS?

IM+CANS certification can be achieved by:

  1. completing the required one day classroom based training; and,
  2. completing the on-line certification testing within 30 days of completing the classroom course

To get started, see Training Schedule for dates and locations near you.  Additional information about certification is distributed at the classroom course.

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