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  • 3 Nov 2023 9:55 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Join us for the 9th State of Health of Chicago! The Institute of Medicine of Chicago, hosts this biannual event to discuss the critical issues impacting healthcare and public health from this convening with thought leaders.  The State of Health of Chicago is a pivotal event as diverse leaders discuss and define imperative challenges that are barriers to advancing healthcare equity and reducing healthcare disparities. The purpose is to identify areas that demand attention for action and initiatives to drive a path to reduce healthcare disparities. 

    We are honored that Dr. Bechara Choucair, MD, SVP and Chief Health Officer of Kaiser Permanente- Kaiser Foundation Health Plan & Hospitals will join us.  In addition, a diverse panel of speakers will discuss key issues facing the healthcare and public health community.  Health  News Illinois is the moderator of the panel discussion. The educational forum will be followed by a networking reception.

    More details and to register more> 


  • 2 Nov 2023 7:44 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    IOMC join Dr. Georges Benjamin, Executive Director of The American Public Health Association, in this webinar to discuss the role of public health practitioners as chief health strategists and how to build modernized public health system. The webinar is open to all- Nov. 28th at 830 AM CT. 

    The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. They are the only organization that combines a 150-year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence policy to improve the public's health. www.apha.org

    Dr. Georges C. Benjamin, MD is known as one of the nation’s most influential physician leaders because he speaks passionately and eloquently about the health issues having the most impact on our nation today. From his firsthand experience as a physician, he knows what happens when preventive care is not available and when the healthy choice is not the easy choice. As executive director of APHA since 2002, he is leading the Association’s push to make America the healthiest nation.

    More details and to register here>


  • 1 Nov 2023 5:31 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul joined colleagues this week to urge a federal court to uphold an initiative of the Biden administration intended to make it easier for legal immigrants to access Medicaid and other federal programs. [Health News Illinois] 

    The 17 attorneys general wrote in a brief to the Southern District of Texas that the administration’s changes to the so-called “public charge” rules will support states in their efforts to get immigrants and their families to enroll in and access health and nutrition programs for which they are eligible.

    They said it will help improve immunization rates and reduce the financial and administrative burden on states’ public health agencies, health systems and safety-net providers.

    “Everyone, regardless of where they are born, deserves the right to critical healthcare and housing programs,” Raoul said in a statement. “I urge the court to uphold these policy changes to ensure hardworking immigrants and their families have access to the programs that protect their well-being.”

    The Biden administration announced the rule in 2022, restoring the public charge policy to what it was before former President Donald Trump, whose administration moved to make it easier for the federal government to deny immigrants green cards if they receive government benefits.

     Texas has sued over the Biden administration’s rule, requesting the court block its enforcement.


  • 31 Oct 2023 1:33 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    The federal government must do more to address maternal health outcomes, specifically among Black women, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., and Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Matteson, said this weekend. [Health News Illinois]

    The lawmakers and officials from the United States Health Resources and Services Administration participated in a roundtable discussion in Chicago on maternal health disparities and ways to provide resources and support for women at risk.

    Kelly noted that Illinois has taken several steps to address the issue, including extending the Medicaid postpartum period to a full year, but “there is so much more that needs to be done.”

    “In the richest country in the world, it is unacceptable that the United States continues to fail moms and babies,” she said. “Black and Native women, especially, are most likely to die from pregnancy-related complications because of systemic racism.”

    Kelly noted Congress has passed several proposals to address the matter, including one that tasks the Department of Health and Human Services with identifying, developing and disseminating best practices to improve maternal healthcare.

    report earlier this month from the Department of Public Health found Black Illinois women continue to die at disparately higher rates from medical causes, while substance use disorder is the leading cause of pregnancy-related death.

    “This isn’t some Catch-22," Duckworth said. "There are real — and easy-to-implement — solutions, and I’m going to keep pushing on the federal level to help end this crisis once and for all."

    The senator reintroduced a plan last week to grant paid leave to individuals who have experienced pregnancy loss.

    The Health Resources and Services Administration has held events across the country in the past month to raise awareness of the issue.

     "We stand with the families of Chicago and are committed to the work of supporting safer pregnancies, eliminating health disparities and helping families to thrive,” agency Administrator Carole Johnson said in a statement.


  • 30 Oct 2023 5:09 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    The Department of Public Health said Friday it will launch an awareness campaign to urge vaccination this fall to address the expected rise of flu, COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus.

    The "Tis the Sneezin’" campaign will include advertisements on cable, broadcast and streaming channels, as well as on radio, billboards and bus shelters. Advertisements will be in both English and Spanish.

    “IDPH is continuing to work closely with local, state and federal partners to monitor the three respiratory viruses that caused last fall and winter’s tripledemic,” agency Director Dr. Sameer Vohra said in a statement. “We encourage all Illinois residents to do the same to prevent illness and protect yourself and your loved ones.”

    The announcement comes as the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that no counties in Illinois are at an elevated level for COVID-19 hospitalizations, down from six the prior week.

    IDPH noted that COVID-19 hospitalizations have been trending downward in recent weeks, with 503 hospitalizations for the week ending Oct. 14 — an 8 percent drop from the prior week.

     More than 170,000 courses of therapeutic medications remain available free of charge through providers and pharmacies until supplies run out.


  • 27 Oct 2023 8:39 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    This conversation is part of a series of interviews in which JAMA Editor in Chief Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, PhD, MD, MAS, and expert guests explore issues surrounding the rapidly evolving intersection of artificial intelligence (AI) and medicine. [JAMA Network]

    How is generative AI catalyzing a paradigm shift in medical education? What will it mean for AI to assist in medical school applications or clinical teaching? And can AI be harnessed to elevate the skills and acumen of clinicians while also allowing them to connect more deeply with their humanity in encounters with patients?

    Needless to say, when it comes to med school, it’s a brave new world.

    It’s the world Bernard S. Chang, MD, MMSc (Video), has been steeped in since being named dean for medical education at Harvard Medical School this summer. JAMA Editor in Chief Kirsten Bibbins Domingo, PhD, MD, MAS, recently spoke with Chang, who is the Daniel D. Federman, MD, professor of neurology at Harvard and a practicing neurologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.



  • 27 Oct 2023 8:19 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    A recent analysis found only a modest difference in outcomes after in-person medical visits compared with telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic, “suggesting that telephone or video telemedicine was still capable of addressing most patient clinical concern areas,” the researchers wrote. [JAMA]

    The study involved nearly 1.6 million US adults in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California health system. The researchers analyzed more than 2 million primary care visits in 2021, about half of which were telemedicine appointments.

    The rates of treatment, including medication prescribing, were lower with telephone and video primary care visits than with in-person office visits, while the rates of follow-up health care visits, such as hospitalizations and visits to the emergency department, were higher. But these differences were small.

    The differences in certain study outcomes were smaller for some types of appointments, such as those addressing mental health concerns, compared with others, like musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, or skin concerns. Telemedicine appointments, which can mitigate barriers to care such as lack of transportation or inability to get time off work, might be more appropriate for certain types of visits, the researchers noted in Annals of Internal Medicine.


  • 26 Oct 2023 3:08 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Black Illinois women continue to die at disparately higher rates from medical causes, while substance use disorder is the leading cause of pregnancy-related death, according to a state report released this week. [Health News Illinois]

    The Department of Public Health's study, which looked at deaths between 2018 and 2020, found that Black women are twice as likely to die from any pregnancy-related condition and three times as likely to die from pregnancy-related medical conditions as white women.

    The data are similar to what the agency reported in 2021.

    “This third edition of the maternal morbidity and mortality report underscores that Illinois still has a long way to go towards ensuring that all Illinoisans can have a safe and healthy pregnancy,” said department Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. “We continue to see unacceptable inequities in maternal mortality for Black women and women with lower socioeconomic status.”

    Nearly one-third of all pregnancy-related deaths were tied to substance use disorder. Other common causes of death were cardiac and coronary conditions, pre-existing chronic medical conditions and sepsis.

    The report offers the first glimpse of the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on maternal mortality. There were 110 deaths reported in 2020, compared to 70 in 2019 and 83 in 2018.

    The Maternal Mortality Review Committees, which helped to compile the report, determined that 91 percent of pregnancy-related deaths were potentially preventable due to clinical, system, social, community or patient factors.

    “We need to continue to emphasize that our healthcare systems provide respectful, patient-centered care for all patients,” said Dr. Robin Jones, chair of the committees and a Rush University Medical Center OB-GYN. “Our nation will not have a health system that promotes health equity and delivers quality outcomes until we better understand the role that racism plays in maternal mortality and take action to address it.”

    In recent years, state officials have worked to improve maternal health outcomes by extending Medicaid coverage to one year postpartum, reimbursing services provided by doulas and home visiting programs, and expanding postpartum visits and services like family planning coverage.

     “I encourage all of our partners to come together to achieve the goal of making Illinois the healthiest state to give birth,” Vohra said. 


  • 25 Oct 2023 3:38 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Gov. JB Pritzker unveiled a plan Tuesday to consolidate all of the state’s early childhood programs and funding into a new state agency. [Health News Illinois]

    The agency’s purview would include the Department of Human Services’ current role in subsidizing the cost of child care services, home visits and early intervention services for lower-income families.

    “We need a governance system that is unified in its approach to serving families, working with providers and promoting equity,” Pritzker said at a press conference in Chicago.

    Other responsibilities would include the Early Childhood Block Grant at the Illinois State Board of Education and day care licensing currently managed by the Department of Children and Family Services.

    Pritzker will sign an executive order outlining the plan for the agency and promised to work with the General Assembly on legislation next spring to formally create it.

    Additionally, his administration will form an external advisory committee to seek input in preparation for the proposal. Bela Moté, CEO of the Carole Robertson Center for Learning in Chicago, will chair the committee. 

    Agency directors joined Pritzker in support of the plan.

    “Our shared mission across state agencies is enhancing equitable access to early childhood programs and services in support of holistic development for all children,” said DHS Secretary Dulce Quintero.


  • 24 Oct 2023 8:03 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    As the severity of the child mental health crisis came into full view during the COVID-19 pandemic, Illinois state officials became serious about writing policy that could help transform how families and children find and access treatment in communities across the state. [Crains]

    The effort is led by Dana Weiner, who is working for Gov. J.B. Pritzker's office on loan from the Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago, where she's long studied behavioral health and well-being in children.  

    Now, as Illinois' chief officer for children's behavioral health transformation, Weiner has spearheaded a report that outlines the state's various plans for addressing the child mental health crisis. The report, ambitiously titled "Blueprint for Transformation," calls for state agencies to better collaborate on expanding mental health service capacity, making services easier to find on a comprehensive website and providing intervention earlier, among other things. 

    Download Blueprint for Transformation report here> 



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