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  • 2 Aug 2022 11:16 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Residents of Rhode Island receive the best healthcare in the country, while those in Mississippi receive the worst, according to an analysis by WalletHub, a personal finance website.  [Becker's Hospital Review 8.1.2022]

    To identify the best and worst states for healthcare, analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 42 different measures of healthcare cost, access and outcomes. The metrics ranged from average hospital expenses per inpatient day to share of patients readmitted to hospitals. Read more about the methodology here

    Illinois ranks 25th on the list. 

    Here are the five states with the highest overall ranking across cost, access and outcomes, according to the analysis: 

    1. Rhode Island

    2. Massachusetts

    3. Hawaii

    4. Minnesota

    5. Maryland 

    Here are the bottom five states on healthcare cost, access and outcomes combined:

    1. Mississippi 

    2. Alabama

    3. Louisiana

    4. Oklahoma

    5. Arkansas 


  • 1 Aug 2022 8:21 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) today announced the City has awarded $24 million to the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (The Partnership) to serve as the lead coordinating organization for the City’s Community Health Response Corps (Response Corps). This program is a part of the Chicago Recovery Plan, created to support recovery from the social, economic, and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Partnership, which was selected through a competitive process, will support community-based organizations (CBOs) to hire and supervise Response Corps members—resulting in approximately 150 new, sustained jobs. 

    View full news release here>

    The Response Corps initiative will mobilize a team of community health outreach workers and build upon many of the learnings and gains from the City’s community outreach actions during the COVID-19 pandemic.  This new Response Corps team will leverage the expertise and infrastructure CDPH, and its City and community partners developed for the COVID-19 emergency response while shifting to promoting overall health and resource connections in the City’s prioritized community areas based on economic hardship, COVID-19 vulnerability, and community safety.

    “The City’s Community Health Response Corps is a necessary tool to support our most vulnerable residents who are still experiencing the social, economic and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “This collaboration between the City, the Chicago Department of Public Health and the Chicago Cook Workforce represents our commitment to taking care of our communities, and will provide expanded access to much-needed resources to ensure each of our residents can live healthy lives.” 

    “The Response Corps is an important step toward achieving the vision of Healthy Chicago 2025,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. “The Partnership stepped up during the COVID-19 response and led an innovative, wide-ranging program that has become a national model for building a public health workforce from within the hardest-hit communities through trusted, community-based partners. We are grateful that they will continue working hand-in-hand with neighborhood organizations to create a Chicago where all people and all communities have equitable access to the resources and opportunities they need to live their healthiest lives.”

    The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated long-standing health disparities and necessitated swift mobilization in communities with high vulnerability to serious COVID-19 outcomes. The City responded by investing deeply in community health outreach and resources in high-risk communities, including through the formation of a Racial Equity Rapid Response Team (RERRT) and the COVID-19 Contact Tracing Corps. 

    ... The work of the Response Corps is aligned with the vision of CDPH’s Healthy Chicago 2025 plan to close the racial life expectancy gap in Chicago, which has reached 10 years between Black and white Chicagoans, and reverse declines in life expectancy for Latinx populations.

    The Community Health Response Corps is just one initiative within the broader $1.2 billion Chicago Recovery Plan to promote safe and thriving communities and an equitable economic recovery from COVID-19. For more information, including funding opportunities, visit chicago.gov/recoveryplan. 


  • 29 Jul 2022 12:04 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    In this brief, we [ they] present data on abortions by race/ethnicity and show how overturning Roe v. Wade disproportionately impacts women of color, as they are more likely to obtain abortions, have more limited access to health care, and face underlying inequities that would make it more difficult to travel out of state for an abortion compared to their White counterparts. Throughout this brief we refer to “women” but recognize that other individuals also have abortions, including some transgender men, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming persons. This brief is based on KFF analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), American Community Survey (ACS), Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS), and Survey of Household Economics and Decision making (SHED)....

    Full 21-page white paper here>


  • 28 Jul 2022 7:27 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Efforts are underway in Illinois to use federal relief funds to address affordable housing. [Health News Illinois] 

    Members of the House’s Housing Committee met last week for an update on a grant program passed last year by the General Assembly that provided $75 million from the American Rescue Plan Act to kickstart housing developments. An additional $150 million is heading to the program in the current fiscal year budget.

    “Our purpose in passing the … program was to help close the gap and to allow for some of those projects that are receiving the federal tax credit to get the resources they need to be fully financed and come to fruition,” said committee Chair Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago.

    Kristin Faust, executive director at the Illinois Housing Development Authority, told lawmakers that Illinois faces an estimated shortage of more than 200,000 affordable and available units.

    The agency has allocated $72.7 million from the program to 20 developments in 17 municipalities across Illinois that contain 1,094 total units. It plans to split the remaining $150 million over the next two fiscal years.

    “That extra $75 million last year, this year and next year is really going to allow us to hold steady," Faust said, noting the rise in interest rates and inflation have started to affect construction.

    The funds must be allocated by the end of 2024 and spent by 2026.

     “We certainly don't want to leave any money on the table,” Guzzardi said.


  • 27 Jul 2022 10:34 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)
    • The CMS on Tuesday released a maternal health action plan aimed at improving outcomes and reducing disparities during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period. Among its goals is protecting patients’ access to emergency care across states, including abortion care when it is the necessary stabilizing treatment, the CMS said.  
    • The agency also approved an extension of postpartum coverage in Connecticut, Kansas and Massachusetts through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program that adds up to 19,000 people a year who will have access to care for a full year after pregnancy across the three states.
    • CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure encouraged healthcare providers, insurance companies and state officials to consider commitments the private sector can make to improve maternal health outcomes.

    Full article here> 


  • 26 Jul 2022 5:51 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)


    The Illinois House will launch four working groups to address the state’s “most important issues,” including mental health and abortion services post-Roe. [Health News Illinois 7.26.2022]

    The Democrat-led committees will work with stakeholders and community advocates to develop a consensus on issues and “meaningfully reform our laws,” said House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside.

    “Illinois has done a lot of important work to ensure we remain an outlier in the Midwest in protecting reproductive health and shielding our citizens from the nationwide scourge of gun violence,” Welch said. “But after the extremist Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision and the tragedy that took place in Highland Park, it is apparent that we have more work to do.”

    Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, will lead the nine-member Reproductive Health and the Dobbs Decision Working Group, while Rep. Deb Conroy, D-Villa Park, will lead the 12-member Mental Health Working Group.

    Other groups will focus on firearm safety and social media and online extremism.

    Welch’s office said the groups will start immediately, though no timeline was given for the work.


  • 26 Jul 2022 5:41 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    The highly transmissible omicron subvariant BA.5 continues to gain dominance in the U.S., now accounting for nearly 82 percent of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., according to the CDC's latest variant proportion estimates. [Becker's Hospital Review 7.26.2022]

    BA.5 accounted for 81.9 percent of cases in the week ending July 23, while BA.4 made up 12.9 percent, the estimates show. BA.2, the nation's dominant strain this spring, now accounts for just 0.3 percent of all cases. 

    "We are in BA.5 mode," Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told The Hill July 25.

    Federal health officials are planning to authorize an omicron-specific vaccine booster designed to target BA.5 in the coming months, which Dr. Fauci called the "best guess" for dealing with COVID-19 this fall. 

    Suggested additional article here> 


  • 22 Jul 2022 9:07 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Illinois launches 988 number for mental health crises

    Illinois officials said they are ready to roll out 988, the new number for those experiencing mental health crises to get connected with help. [Health News Illinois] 

    The lifeline, which can also accept chats and texts, launched Saturday. 

    “This will bolster the crisis care continuum in Illinois, better connecting people in crisis with call takers trained in suicide prevention, crisis de-escalation and stabilization,” said David Albert, director of the Department of Human Services’ division of mental health, which will oversee the new calling code in coordination with the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 

    The current state budget includes $70 million to implement the 988 call center and increase staffing at six call centers across Illinois.

    That boost in staffing comes as a report earlier this year from Vibrant Emotional Health, the administrator of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, found just one in five calls to Illinois’ call centers were answered in the first three months of 2022.

    Grace Hou, DHS secretary, told reporters last week they have built the capacity where over 85 percent of in-state calls will be answered in Illinois.

    “The launch of 988 will help people across the state prevent mental health crises from escalating into emergencies,” she said in a statement.

    Suicide is the third leading cause of death for Illinoisans between the ages of 15 and 34, according to Gov. JB Pritzker’s office, and the fourth leading cause of death for those 35 to 44. 


  • 21 Jul 2022 6:16 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Introduction The 91,799 drug overdose deaths that occurred in the United States in 2020 represent an approximately 30% increase from 2019 (1). The COVID-19 pandemic and disruption in access to prevention, treatment, and harm reduction services have likely contributed to this increase (2). Recent increases in drug overdose deaths were largely driven by illicitly manufactured fentanyl and fentanyl analogs (collectively referred to as IMFs) (1,3,4). Deaths involving stimulants, such as cocaine and psychostimulants with abuse potential, (e.g., methamphetamine) also increased in recent years and often co-occurred with opioids (1,3,5,6); some racial and ethnic minority groups were disproportionately affected (6).

    View full paper here> 


  • 20 Jul 2022 5:14 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    A $29.3 million child and adolescent behavioral health center in West Peoria received the green light Tuesday from the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board. [Health News Illinois]

    The project by UnityPoint Health will include 44 acute mental illness beds, as well as outpatient services and space for family support groups, education seminars and community services. 

    UnityPoint representatives told board members there is an increasing demand for services in the Peoria region, and that the existing space at UnityPoint Health-Methodist is no longer adequate to address it.

    Jeanine Spain, executive vice president and chief operating officer at UnityPoint Health – Central Illinois, said that 60 percent of children and adolescents over the past three years have had to leave the community to receive care, with the closest hospital specializing in such services 80 miles away.

    “Having your child hospitalized to begin with, and then having to have that transferred out of the community is a bigger burden on families and loved ones, along with the children,” she said. “It's just imperative that we really get behind this project.”

    The project, which the board approved unanimously, is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2023.

    Additionally, the review board approved Rush Copley Medical Center's plan for a $21.3 million modernization of its Aurora facility. The plan calls for more than 15,000 square feet of space to be built above the existing emergency department to house a 20-room observation unit and for the relocation of existing imaging services and equipment.

    David Petasnick, vice president of operations at Rush Copley Medical Center, said recent years have shown the importance of having a clinical decision unit, noting they have had to care for observation patients using the hospital’s ambulatory outpatient area. 

    “The development of the CDU will result in an improved healing environment for all Rush Copley patients by ensuring that all of our patients are going to be in appropriate care settings to receive optimal care,” he said.

    The project is expected to be completed by August 2023.

    The board also approved a $13.2 million plan by OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria to build out shell space to house physician office space at the OSF Comprehensive Cancer Center.

    The project is expected to be completed by June 2024.

    And it unanimously approved a $6.7 million plan to add a 10-bed rehabilitation unit at Kindred Hospital-Sycamore. 

    The project, which fell one vote shy of the six necessary to pass at June’s meeting, was approved after the applicants reduced the number of long-term acute care beds from 69 to 54, which officials said addressed a previous concern that the project exceeded the number of rehabilitation beds needed in the region.

     The board also approved a $952,000 plan to add 12 stations to the existing 12-station Dialysis Care Center Olympia Fields. 


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