Addressing social determinants of health, boosting mental health access and bolstering the workforce are among the healthcare issues gaining lawmaker’s attention this legislative session. [Health News Illinois]
“There is more to delivering healthcare than just injecting somebody, giving them a pill, doing surgery,” Sen. Julie Morrison, D-Lake Forest, said during a Health News Illinois panel Tuesday in Springfield. “Healthcare really starts with a person's lifestyle and their ability to have food, to have access to healthcare, to be able to be transported back and forth, as needed, for those things.”
Rep. Camille Lilly, D-Chicago, wants to ensure access to mental health services for all state residents in need.
“We really need to make sure that we fund and that we create access … for mental health services,” she said.
Rep. Norine Hammond, R-Macomb, the chief budgeteer for House Republicans, said she will be working with providers to come up with solutions for increasing staffing, especially in long-term care and for those serving the disabled community.
She also thinks Illinois should join an interstate compact that makes it easier for nurses to work across state lines. The proposal, which is opposed by unions and some Democrats, has failed to advance in recent sessions.
“Passing the nurse licensure compact is absolutely critical,” Hammond said. “Illinois has just not kept up with what we need to be doing in providing nurses to all of our facilities, whether it's hospitals, long-term care or physician offices.”
Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, a member of a workgroup of lawmakers looking at Medicaid issues, said more could be done to support hospitals and long-term care facilities, where expenses are rising faster than revenues.
“Their only choices are either closing, cutting back services or long delays,” Syverson said. “So, before we look at starting new programs, how are we going to help sustain hospitals and long-term care facilities?”