Public Health

  • Sen. Steve StadelmanIn response to the COVID-19 pandemic

    ROCKFORD – With the number of COVID-19 cases increasing daily, State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) is urging doctors, nurses and other professionals in Wisconsin to apply for Illinois’ new Out of State Temporary Practice Permits.

    The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation has issued a proclamation to allow out-of-state physicians, nurses, physician assistants, and respiratory care therapists to provide care to Illinois residents affected by COVID-19.

  • Sen. Jennifer Bertino-TarrantSPRINGFIELD — If you begin to feel ill with symptoms that could be COVID-19, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is urging you to call your doctor’s office before going in.

    “If you go into the office without notice, you aren’t just potentially exposing yourself to COVID-19, you could be exposing others,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “In order to not spread the virus further, please call, so they can provide you with directions.”

  • Sen. Patricia Van PeltSPRINGFIELD – Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) introduced legislation that would allow incarcerated mothers to remain with their child for 72 hours after giving birth, unless a medical professional determines otherwise.

    “It’s crucial for a baby to spend its first moments with its mother, and we want to ensure that,” Van Pelt said. “This way the baby gets the care it needs, while the mother is inspired to stay on her best behavior in the hopes she may return to her child.”

    The bill would also provide the mother with hygiene products and diapers for her infant. Even before the baby is born, Van Pelt wants to guarantee that incarcerated mothers are cared for by requiring corrections officials to incorporate health care training and education for their specific needs.

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  • glowiak 022520SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Suzy Glowiak Hilton (D-Western Springs) is calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish a 3-digit suicide hotline for Americans experiencing mental health crises.

    “Mental health crises are becoming more prevalent, specifically in young people, and we need national leadership on this issue,” Glowiak Hilton said. “Creating a dedicated emergency hotline for this will save lives.”

    Over 1,000 people commit suicide each year in Illinois alone. LGBT, American Indian, and veteran communities are particularly vulnerable to suicidal thoughts.

     

  • Sen. President John J. Cullerton

    SPRINGFIELD – Vaping has taken the life of three Illinoisans and injured 166 more. Senate President John J. Cullerton is committed to stopping the lung illness outbreak before even more lives are lost – and it starts with the passage of Senate Bill 668.

    “Chemical cigarettes are a public health epidemic,” President Cullerton said. “I don’t want to see these numbers go any higher. I don’t want to see any more teenagers lured to addiction by fruit flavored chemical cigarettes.”

    President Cullerton is the sponsor of SB 668, which would ban flavored nicotine products, including flavored electronic cigarettes and vapes, flavored cigars and flavored chewing tobacco.

    This step toward addressing the epidemic is supported by the Illinois attorney general, the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society and the Respiratory Health Association.

  • vaping 090419SPRINGFIELD – A third person died in Illinois from a vaping-related illness this week, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

    State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) released the following statement about the tragic outcome vaping has had on Illinoisans:

    “I am heartbroken to learn another person in our state has died from the harmful substances found in vapes,” Senator Morrison said. “Vaping and e-cigarette-related illnesses and deaths have become a nationwide outbreak that must come to an end before more lives our lost. I hope the Illinois General Assembly can come to an agreement on a bill that will keep these products out of the hands of children.”

    Senator Morrison filed Senate Bill 2275 last month, which would prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco products, including cigarettes, e-cigarettes and chewing tobacco.

  • Sen. Suzy Glowiak HiltonOAKBROOK TERRACE—Illinois Alzheimer’s caregivers and patients will now have an advocate within the Illinois Department of Public Health to oversee the state’s Alzheimer’s efforts, thanks to State Senator Suzy Glowiak Hilton.

    Glowiak Hilton’s measure, Senate Bill 1726, which creates the position of Dementia Coordinator in the Department of Public Health to oversee the implementation of the Illinois Alzheimer's Disease State Plan, was signed into law on Monday.

    “As someone who cared for a husband and mother with Alzheimer’s disease, I know how impossible it can seem,” Glowiak Hilton said. “Under the leadership of a statewide Dementia Coordinator, those living and caring for those with Alzheimer’s will have an advocate to fight for state policies that will improve their level of care.”

  • Care for dementia patients SPRINGFIELD – Families of individuals who reside in facilities that care for dementia patients would have the ability to install video and audio monitoring devices in their loved one’s room under a plan sponsored by State Senator Terry Link (D-Indian Creek) that passed the Senate this afternoon.

    “No one who is being cared for by medical staff should ever have to worry about being abused or taken advantage of,” Link said. “While we know most care staff treat their patients with dignity and respect, allowing video monitoring equipment will serve as a deterrent to misconduct and offer peace of mind to family members.”

  • Sen. Cristina CastroSPRINGFIELD – The State of Illinois currently does not have a limit on how many patients are assigned to registered nurses at one time, creating an unrealistic workload, but State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) is working to change that.

    Castro’s measure would create the Safe Patient Limits Act, setting a cap on how many patients can be assigned to a registered nurse in specified situations. This would allow Rn’s a lighter workload, which would give them more time with their assigned patients.

    “This doesn’t just relieve the workload for RNs,” Castro said. “It’s also safer for the patients and allows the RNs to give them the quality care they deserve.”

  • Sen. Melinda BushState Senators Melinda Bush and John Curran, joined by Willowbrook residents, unveiled a package of legislation on Tuesday that seeks to address the public health crisis caused by Sterigenics and their release of ethylene oxide into surrounding communities. The announcement comes after the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (ILEPA) issued a seal order against Sterigenics last week, which forced them to cease operations.

    While praising the ILEPA’s decision as an important first step, it was reiterated that lawmakers now need to ensure the proper policies and protections are in place to safeguard Willowbrook and all Illinois communities from the impact of this public health hazard.

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  • sims 060418CHICAGO—State Senator Elgie R. Sims Jr. (D-Chicago) released the following statement after Gov. JB Pritzker signed an executive order for a full audit of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs’ (IDVA), health, safety and security procedures in response to one of the residents at the Manteno Veterans’ Home testing positive for Legionnaires’ Disease:

    “We have to do all we can to prevent a repeat of what happened in Quincy at the Manteno Veterans’ Home. These men and women have sacrificed so much for the people of this great state and country.

    “For that reason, I commend Gov. Pritzker. His swift action is exactly what we need—a fresh start. The lack of transparency in how the last administration handled the Legionnaires’ outbreak in Quincy was despicable. I join the governor in his commitment to treat this situation with the urgency it demands. I just sent a letter to the director of the Manteno Veterans’ Home this week requesting detailed information on how the case of Legionnaires’ disease is being handled and what protocol is being taken.

    “We have an obligation to protect our heroes as they have protected us, and this means collecting as much information as possible so we can be transparent with them, their families and the public and take all necessary precautions to protect them from any harm, particularly Legionnaires’ disease.”

  • castro 080818SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) commended Gov. JB Pritzker’s decision today to make a commitment to addressing a lingering health care crisis at the state’s veterans’ homes.

    “The Legionnaires’ outbreak was a public health crisis, but the previous administration’s behind the scenes scheming, secrecy and lack of communication with the very families affected made it even worse,” Castro said. “This executive order gives us a fresh start and an opportunity to renew our commitment to providing quality care for veterans. We owe it to them and their families to ensure type of health crisis never occurs again.”

    Pritzker issued an executive order today instructing the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to provide a report in the next 120 days examining the strengths and weaknesses of Illinois’ veterans’ homes and determine what efforts can be made to ensure that the brave men and women who served our country receive proper care.

    The order further directs veterans’ homes to develop procedures for communicating with families to ensure that they are no longer left in the dark about the care their loved ones are receiving.

    Senator Castro was named chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee this week and plans to continue working with the new administration to protect veterans.

    “I look forward to collaborating with Gov. Pritzker on this issue and others facing Illinois veterans,” she said. “We need to work together to provide our country’s heroes with the treatment they deserve when their service has concluded.”

  • hunter 041918CHICAGO – Starting Jan. 1, 2019, students and parents will have more access to research and prevention materials regarding influenza.

    State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) championed the measure after a rapid increase in the number of people going to see their doctors or health care providers with flu-related symptoms last year.

    "The flu is a serious and contagious disease that can lead to severe consequences,” Hunter said. “One of the best ways to prevent influenza is to stay informed.”

    Senate Bill 2654 will require the Illinois Department of Public Health to develop informational materials about influenza and flu vaccines for school districts. Additionally, school boards will be required to provide that information to parents when notifying them of other health-related matters.

    “Providing parents with information can help reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits and missed school due to flu,” Hunter said. “I am glad that we now have additional steps in place to protect children and families by providing them the information they need to live healthy lives.”

  • Sen. Patricia Van Pelt

    State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) demanded answers as to why the state crime lab has a backlog of DNA from more than 750 murder cases during a Senate Public Health committee hearing this morning.

    “There are as many as 750 Chicago families waiting for answers about the murder of their loved one,” Van Pelt said. “These families deserve answers. They deserve closure.”

    Representatives from the Illinois State Police Forensic Science Lab testified during the hearing, along with family members of murder victims who have been affected by the backlog.

    “I promise to do whatever it takes to end this backlog and make sure families of murder victims get justice,” Van Pelt said. “I ran for office because I didn’t understand why people in Springfield weren’t addressing the issues we face every day in my community. This is one of those key issues.”

    Van Pelt plans to hold another hearing on the matter in the spring.

  • manar lyme 111518SPRINGFIELD – Illinois physicians will not face discipline for recommendations they make to aggressively treat Lyme disease under a new law supported by State Senator Andy Manar.

    The Illinois Senate on Thursday voted to override the governor’s veto of a bipartisan plan that permits Lyme disease sufferers to receive extended regimens of antibiotics under a physician’s care.

    The plan clears the way for doctors to prescribe more aggressive treatments for Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses than are currently accepted under industry standards without facing disciplinary action by the state.

    “Numerous people in my Senate district suffer from the life-altering effects of Lyme, and I believe this plan is a step in the right direction as we learn more about how to successfully treat the disease,” said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat who co-sponsored the measure in the Senate.

    House Bill 4515 creates the Lauryn Russell Lyme Disease Prevention Act. It requires state officials to form a Lyme disease prevention and outreach program and establish a 12-member Lyme disease task force.

    The bill passed in the spring with overwhelming support from both Democrats and Republicans in the General Assembly, but Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed it in August. This week lawmakers voted to override the governor – 110-0 in the House and 48-0 in the Senate.

    There were 237 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in Illinois in 2016, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

  • Sen. Hunter works to expand influenza research and prevention SPRINGFIELD – After an increase in hospital visits during what was reported as an extremely harsh flu season, State Senator Mattie Hunter (D- Chicago) increased efforts to provide students and parents research and prevention materials regarding influenza.

    “There was a very rapid increase in the number of people going to see their doctors or health care providers with flu related symptoms,” said Hunter. “We have to get in front of this issue by providing children and families the information they need to live healthy lives.”

  • vanpelt 042318SPRINGFIELD – Chicago Police Department officials opted last minute not to send a representative to today’s Senate Public Health Committee hearing on CPD’s collection and use of information in the department’s gang databases.

    “I’m very disappointed about CPD’s last-minute decision not to testify at today’s hearing,” said Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago, chair of the Senate Public Health Committee). “There’s no shortage of questions and criticisms on how the CPD collects and uses the information in its gang databases, but CPD officials have continued to claim the databases are valuable tools. Today was their chance to address the critics and make their case for the database and they chose not to show up.”