Text Size
Login
config

Morrison: Families concerned about state’s commitment to individuals with disabilities

morrison 101716SPRINGFIELD – For families of individuals with disabilities in Illinois, the process of securing job training services, residential housing options or day programs can be an arduous process that can takes years. 

“My son has been waiting for services since 2008,” said Mike Baker, parent and State Advocacy Chair of Autism Speaks.

Baker testified today about the importance of providing services for individuals with disabilities at a Senate Human Services Committee hearing held at the Bilandic Building in downtown Chicago.

State Senator Julie Morrison (D – Deerfield), Vice-Chairwoman of the Human Services Committee, attended the hearing and expressed concern about the high number of individuals currently waiting for services.

“There are more than 18,000 individuals with disabilities waiting for services in Illinois,” Morrison said. “Families across the state are rightfully concerned with the high level of uncertainty about the ability of the state to provide services now and in the future.”

Today’s hearing took testimony about current state compliance with the Ligas Consent Decree, a 2011 court mandate that requires Illinois to provide community-based services to individuals with developmental disabilities.

While the decree has helped transition thousands of individuals from institutional settings to community-based centers, requirements contained in the mandate expire after June 15, 2017, causing concern among parents and advocacy groups. 

Another issue discussed at today’s hearing was a recent court decision that Illinois was out of compliance with the Ligas Decree due to the lack of payment increases to providers. Numerous providers have experienced high staff turnover rates and are not able to expand their services.

“Something’s wrong when caring for individuals with disabilities is valued less than flipping burgers or walking pets,” said caregiver Christine Rivera, who works in a suburban Community Integrated Living Arrangement (CILA).

Morrison’s plan expanding patient rights signed into law

morrison 042116SPRINGFIELD – A new law that will give more flexibility to medical patients who are benefiting from a certain drug but are required by their insurance companies to take a less-costly medication was signed into law recently by the governor.

“Patients suffering from chronic conditions, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis or mental illness, rely on effective medical treatments to manage their conditions,” State Senator Julie Morrison (D - Deerfield) said. “When an insurance bureaucrat tells a patient the medication they are currently taking will no longer be covered, it can bring uncertainty and worry to patients already struggling with a serious health concern.”

Morrison passed a plan earlier this year that expands what is known as step-therapy exceptions. Step-therapy is the process by which a patient tries other medications first before “stepping up” to drugs that are costlier. While the process can save insurance companies money, for many patients who have already tried generic drugs or who are stable on their current prescriptions, the issue can be a serious health concern.

“Expanding the ability of patients to advocate for the use of prescription medications which would be best for their unique medical circumstance is an important tool in the health care delivery process for patients and doctors alike,” said Patrick Stone, Associate Director of State Government Relations at the National Psoriasis Foundation.

House Bill 3549 was signed into law on Friday by the governor.

Morrison urges action on construction funding

pavingSPRINGFIELD – More than $2 billion in construction projects in Illinois could grind to a halt if action isn’t taken in Springfield before Friday.

Locally, construction on the $18.1 million Deerfield Road Construction Project would cease unless legislation allowing the expenditure of funds is approved. 

“The recently announced stoppage of the Deerfield Road Reconstruction Project is just another example of why the state cannot effectively operate without a finalized budget plan in place,” State Senator Julie Morrison (D – Deerfield) said. “Walking away from a major construction project that isn’t completed would not only cause horrific traffic delays but could also be a serious public safety concern for motorists.”

Deerfield Road is currently in the middle of an $18.1 million resurfacing and reconstruction project between the Metra viaduct in Deerfield and U.S. Route 41 in Highland Park. While the 2.39-mile long reconstruction project is largely paid for with federal funds, the state will soon not be legally able to appropriate federal funds due to the lack of a finalized budget plan for Fiscal Year 2017, which begins on Friday.

“It is my understanding there is an agreement in place that will allow projects like the Deerfield Road construction project to continue,” Morrison said. “I am hopeful legislators from both sides of the aisle will join me in supporting this plan when the Senate and House reconvene on Wednesday.”

Medical patients would see greater rights under Morrison plan

morrison ethics 030116SPRINGFIELD – For many patients suffering from chronic medical conditions, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, mental illness or chronic pain, finding the right medication for treatment of serious symptoms can be difficult. For patients who do find a medication that works for them, staying on that medication is vital.

State Senator Julie Morrison (D – Deerfield) passed a plan out of the Senate yesterday afternoon that would give more flexibility to patients who are benefiting from a certain drug but are required by their insurance companies to take a less-costly medication.

“Patients who have been prescribed a certain medication by their doctor should not have to jump through hoops with an insurance bureaucrat to get their medicine,” State Senator Julie Morrison (D – Deerfield) said. “This proposal is the culmination of a yearlong negotiation process that I am proud to say is an agreement between the insurance industry and patient advocates.”

Morrison’s plan, contained in House Bill 3549, expands what is known as step-therapy exceptions. Step-therapy is the process by which a patient tries other medications first before “stepping up” to drugs that are costlier. While the process can save insurance companies money, for many patients who have already tried generic drugs or who are stable on their current prescriptions, the issue can be a serious health concern.

“Expanding the ability of patients to advocate for the use of prescription medications which would be best for their unique medical circumstance is an important tool in the health care delivery process for patients and doctors alike,” said Patrick Stone, Associate Director of State Government Relations at the National Psoriasis Foundation.

House Bill 3549 passed the Senate without opposition and now heads to the Illinois House for a concurrence vote.

Sen. Julie Morrison

morrison 150

29th Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Environment and Conservation; Human Services (Vice-Chairperson); Education; Committee of the Whole; Commerce and Economic Development; Transportation.

Biography: Born in Beardstown; received a bachelor's degree from Knox College; served as supervisor of West Deerfield Township, married to husband Joe with three grown children.

Associated Representative(s): Elaine Nekritz, Scott Drury