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  • 28 Sep 2022 12:08 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    The Department of Human Services is set to receive just over $37 million in federal funds to help aid Illinois’ opioid response, the state’s two senators announced last week. [Health News Illinois]

    “This federal funding will give our state the proper resources to provide support to individuals and families who need it the most, and I hope this investment will put our communities on the road to recovery,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said in a statement.

    The funds from the Department of Health and Human Services will go toward increasing access to medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder and supporting prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery services.

    DHS did not return a request for additional comment.

    The White House announced $1.5 billion on Friday for states, territories and tribal nations to curb addiction and support those in recovery. 


  • 27 Sep 2022 6:08 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Medical care can diagnose illness and injury, but a lack of medical care is not the cause of illness or injury. Medicine is more an art than a science. State-of-the-art care changes over time. When I was in medical school in 1972, a professor of medicine began his lecture by informing us that, "In 10 years' time you will discover that half of what I am telling you is wrong. I just don't know which half."

    We didn't give aspirin to someone having a heart attack until after 1980, but it's now routinely administered even before the victim gets to the hospital. Until the 2000s, post-menopausal women were given estrogen to replace the hormones they no longer produced, with one study finding slight gains in life expectancy from the use of that therapy. Most now consider this practice to be harmful.

    Full article here> 


  • 26 Sep 2022 6:28 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Vaccinators have administered 340,000 doses of the new COVID-19 booster vaccines in Illinois, according to the Department of Public Health.

    The agency announced Friday that about 137,000 doses of the boosters, which provide extra protection against the omicron subvariants, were given last week.

    “This is an encouraging sign as we head into the fall season and face a potential increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations,” IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra said in a statement. “Illinois is fortunate to have a significant supply of bivalent boosters.”

    The Chicago Department of Public Health said they have seen more than 75,000 booster doses administered to Chicagoans as of Sept. 21.

    There were 17,373 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Illinois last week, a 1.2 percent decrease from the prior week. There were 62 deaths reported last week.

    The new cases bring the state’s total to 3,751,275. There have been 34,947 deaths.

    The seven-day average for new cases on Friday was 2,482, down 30 from the prior week. The seven-day average for daily deaths was nine, down two from the prior week.

    The seven-day rolling average case rate per 100,000 people is 19.5, down 0.2 from the prior week.

    As of Thursday, 1,069 Illinoisans were in the hospital with COVID-19, down 108 from Wednesday and down 84 from the prior week.

    Three counties, Ford, Jefferson and Wayne, are now at a “high” community level of COVID-19, the level at which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people mask indoors in public spaces. Thirty-three counties are at a “medium” risk level.

     According to CDC data, 96 percent of COVID-19 cases in the Midwest between Sep. 17 and Sept. 24 were BA.4, BA.4.6 and BA.5 omicron subvariants. The region includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.


  • 23 Sep 2022 6:13 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    As she tours Illinois, Comptroller Susana Mendoza is taking a particular interest in the well-being of independent pharmacies serving rural and medically underserved communities.

    She spoke with Health News Illinois this week to highlight the importance of a program aimed at supporting pharmacies in some of the state's most rural areas.

    According to her office, 103 pharmacies participated in the Critical Access Pharmacies program in fiscal year 2022.

    Mendoza also raised concerns about pharmacy benefit managers and their impact.

    "I have not seen evidence to suggest that the state is actually saving money with these PBM in the mix," she said. "My experience has been that I would rather pay pharmacists directly, and I believe that actually save us money by doing so just based on the numbers that I've seen."

    Melodie Shrader of the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, which represents PBMs in Illinois and across the country, said in response to Mendoza’s comments that they looking forward to sharing with her how they “are lowering out-of-pocket medication costs for Illinois residents.”

    “The evidence is clear that PBMs work, saving Illinois residents on average $962 a year in drug costs,” Shrader said. “Taxpayers benefit from PBMs too, as they will help the state Medicaid system save over $2 billion in this decade alone. The evidence also shows that independent pharmacies have remained both stable and profitable while Illinois has used PBMs to lower drug costs for residents."

    For more information check Health News Illinois. 


  • 22 Sep 2022 2:09 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is constantly changing and accumulating mutations in its genetic code over time. New variants of SARS-CoV-2 are expected to continue to emerge. Some variants will emerge and disappear, while others will emerge and continue to spread and may replace previous variants.

    To identify and track SARS-CoV-2 variants, CDC uses genomic surveillance. CDC's national genomic surveillance system collects SARS-CoV-2 specimens for sequencing through the National SARS-CoV-2 Strain Surveillance (NS3) program, as well as SARS-CoV-2 sequences generated by commercial or academic laboratories contracted by CDC and state or local public health laboratories. Virus genetic sequences are analyzed and classified as a particular variant. The proportion of variants in a population are calculated nationally, by HHS region, and by jurisdiction. The thousands of sequences analyzed every week through CDC’s national genomic sequencing and bioinformatics efforts fuel the comprehensive and population-based U.S. surveillance system established to identify and monitor the spread of variants.

    Rapid virus genomic sequencing data combined with phenotypic data are further used to determine whether COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines authorized or approved for use in the United States will work against emerging variants.


    Nowcast is a model that estimates more recent proportions of circulating variants and enables timely public health action. CDC is providing weekly Nowcast estimates which will be updated every week on Friday.

    COVID Data Tracker here>


  • 21 Sep 2022 6:46 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Several Illinois municipalities will use nearly $3.5 million in federal funds to aid their COVID-19 recovery.

    Forty-two American Rescue Plan Act-funded grants are heading to municipalities to accelerate local economic recovery initiatives. The grants are allocated through a program overseen by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to promote economic recovery.

    Kane County will use $150,000 to support and study the pandemic's impacts on industry, mental health and broadband access, while the city of Springfield will receive $150,00 to develop a downtown and medical district master plan. Coles Together will receive $150,000 to develop a regional plan focused on COVID-19 recovery and economic infrastructure.

    "These grants will help communities craft economic development plans that reflect the specific impact of the pandemic on their region, with the opportunity to apply for funding to put the plans into action in the future,” Gov. JB Pritzker said in a statement.

     See the full list of recipients here.


  • 19 Sep 2022 4:40 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    An adequate supply of health care workers (HCWs) is critical for delivering high-quality care. Before COVID-19, HCWs were already experiencing increased burnout1 and turnover, raising concerns about the sustainability of the health care workforce. Given the threat of COVID-19 to the health and well-being of HCWs, we examined changes in unemployment among HCWs from January 2015 to April 2022.

    For the full article visit this page.


  • 19 Sep 2022 4:30 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    The Housing Authority of Cook County, in partnership with the community, is hosting the first-ever women’s resource expo on October 5th. The Expo will be a one-stop shop for women experiencing homelessness, women who have endured domestic abuse, and women who have experienced incarceration.
    Resources available include counseling, transportation, food, clothing, shelter, child support services, primary health care referrals, screening for blood pressure, vision, HIV testing and care, veterans’ information, employment services, mock interviews, education/training services, and a variety of other social service agencies and you. 


  • 16 Sep 2022 6:32 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)
    • About 63% of physicians surveyed experienced at least one manifestation of burnout in 2021, shooting up from 38% in 2020 and representing the highest amount in a decade of recurring survey findings, according to an article published this week in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
    Photo credit Adeline Kon/Healthcare Dive [Healthcare Dive]
    • Mean scores for emotional exhaustion and depersonalization were higher in 2021 while satisfaction with work-life balance dropped. Meanwhile, depression scores were relatively stable, “suggesting the increase in physician distress in this interval was primarily due to increased work-related distress,” the authors wrote.
    The findings suggest that women have been more affected by burnout during COVID-19, the authors said, also noting the results come against a backdrop of other stressors like gun violence, economic concerns and child care hurdles.

    Full article here>


  • 15 Sep 2022 8:06 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Racial mental health disparities cost the United States around $278 billion between 2016 and 2020, putting a price tag on a health equity issue that’s long plagued the nation, according to researchers from the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine with support from Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. [Patient Engagement HIT]

    The researchers looked at the national prevalence of mental health needs, care utilization, additional healthcare costs attributable to mental health disparities, and premature death across indigenous and racial or ethnic minorities. The analysis showed that, between 2016 and 2020, the US saw an excess of 117,000 premature deaths among indigenous and racial or ethnic minorities due to mental health needs.

    All said, the excess cost due to these mental health disparities was $278 billion. That additional cost burden links back to mental illness, substance use disorder (SUD), and suicide, the researchers said.

    These findings indicate that the healthcare industry needs to make more judicious investments in mental and behavioral healthcare, according to Daniel E. Dawes, JD, DHL (Hon).

    “Investing in mental healthcare saves lives and dollars — we have known this for decades, but until now did not fully understand the monumental impacts of neglecting to act,” Dawes, a professor and the executive director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute and author of the Political Determinants of Health, said in a statement.

    Full article here> 


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