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Mulroe ensures babies screened for rare diseases

baby 081418CHICAGO – Bureaucratic hurdles standing in the way of newborns receiving life-saving health screenings will be eliminated under a new law sponsored by State Senator John G. Mulroe (D-Chicago).

“Parents need to know if their newborn has a lysosomal storage disorder so they can plan for their child’s needs,” Mulroe said. “Yet, complicated rules have prevented children from being tested for these life-altering diseases for nearly a decade after the law mandated us to do so. Their lives should not be put on the line because of red tape.”

State government operates under a web of purchasing and contract rules which govern how it solicits goods and services. An October 2017 report from the Chicago Tribune found this bureaucracy prevented the state labs from starting up this important newborn testing.

Originally passed in 2007, the Newborn Metabolic Screening Act mandated testing for diseases, including Krabbe. The disease presents no symptoms at birth, but the genetic defect causes a lack of an enzyme that sustains the protective coating around nerve cells, leading to a painful, debilitating condition. If detected early enough, treatments can be arranged to improve the quality of life.

Since the passage of the 2007 law, the initial deadline of 2010 has been extended as the Illinois Department of Public Health struggled to comply with the screening requirements due to a lack of the necessary technology, equipment, commodities and services to meet them. Ten years of regulatory missteps and byzantine state contracting rules prevented the screenings from being performed until December 2017.

House Bill 4745 exempts newborn screenings from those purchasing rules. 

“Illinois has been derelict in its duty to prevent this suffering,” Mulroe said. “This is the first step toward fixing that.”

The legislation was signed into law Friday. It takes effect immediately.

Mulroe plan to fight breast cancer becomes law

mulroe 052418CHICAGO – Women will now be notified if they have dense breast tissue under a new law sponsored by State Senator John G. Mulroe (D-Chicago).

“This new law is an important step forward to provide women with necessary information to make critical decisions about their health,” Mulroe said. “I hope that with this information, women will feel empowered.”

According to a 2014 report from the Illinois Department of Public Health, 26 women in Illinois are diagnosed with breast cancer every day.

House Bill 4392 requires every mammography service provider to inform patients if they have dense breast tissue and provide information on the related risk factors. Dense breast tissue and cancer cells can appear similarly on mammograms, making it more difficult to detect cancer when dense tissue is present.

It also requires the Illinois Department of Public Health to update its published summary to recommend follow-up tests for patients with dense breast tissue.

“I will continue to do everything in my power to promote breast cancer awareness measures,” Mulroe said.

The legislation, which was signed into law Friday, takes effect Jan. 1, 2019.

Mulroe fights for access to juvenile records

juvenile records 080618CHICAGO – Illinois youth and their guardians will no longer be prevented from accessing their investigation and arrest records under a new law sponsored by State Senator John G. Mulroe (D-Chicago).

“It’s important for minors, their family and their legal representation to have access to their records,” Mulroe said.

Under current law, minors cannot receive a copy of their own records before their 18th birthday, nor can their guardians or lawyers. However, law enforcement and prosecutors can access a juvenile’s record. Senate Bill 2915 corrects that discrepancy.

“It’s important to balance protecting a juvenile’s identity with ensuring that the right people have access to information to help them,” Mulroe said.

Additionally, Senate Bill 2915 requires juvenile court proceedings to be expunged by the arresting agency within 60 days of receiving the expungement order.

This legislation, which was signed into law today, takes effect immediately.

Mulroe streamlines Medicaid renewal process for long-term care residents

mulroe 052418CHICAGO–Elderly and disabled Medicaid patients residing in long-term care facilities will soon see their applications automatically renewed under a new law sponsored by State Senator John G. Mulroe (D-Chicago).

“The backlog of long-term care determinations and redeterminations for elderly and disabled Medicaid patients is unacceptable,” Mulroe said. “This new law will expedite the process for certain applicants and automatically renew current Medicaid patients in long-term care facilities.”

Senate Bill 2913 requires the Department of Healthcare and Family Services to implement passive renewals for Medicaid patients residing in long-term care facilities, many of whom are elderly or disabled. It also requires the departments to establish an expedited long-term care facility eligibility determination and enrollment system.

Additionally, the law requires the DHFS to adopt policies to improve communication between long-term care facilities and applicants and for applicants to have the opportunity to speak directly to a trained individual over the phone.

“Too many long term care facilities have already closed due to delayed payments from Medicaid determinations,” Mulroe said. “We have to put an end to this and support facilities as well as patients.”

Currently, there are more than 8,000 applications pending more than 90 days due to state delay. According to a recent report from the Illinois comptroller, the number of pending Medicaid eligibility determinations for long term care facilities that are more than 90 days old rose 143 percent between December 2017 and May 2018. The average cost to treat a patient in a long-term care facility is $55,000 per year.

The legislation was signed into law today. It takes effect immediately.

Sen. John G. Mulroe

mulroe-2014-150

10th District

Years served: 2010 - Present

Committee assignments: Commerce and Economic Development; Criminal Law; Executive; Insurance (Vice-Chairperson); Judiciary (Chairperson); Public Health; Subcommittee on Const. Amendments.

Biography: Born July 21, 1959, in Chicago; BBA, accounting, Loyola University; J.D., Loyola University School of Law; member of Chicago and Illinois State Bar associations; full-time attorney; former assistant state's attorney and arbitrator for Cook County; certified public accountant; married (wife, Margaret), four children.

Associated Representative:
Robert Martwick
Michael P. McAuliffe