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  • 5 Aug 2022 8:57 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Gov. JB Pritzker on Monday declared monkeypox a public health emergency.

    The declaration will allow the Department of Public Health to better coordinate logistics across state agencies when it comes to vaccine distribution and working with the federal government on a response to the virus, he said. [Health News Illinois]

    IDPH and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency will also be able to access state and federal recovery and assistance funds to expand vaccine and testing capacities.

    “(Monkeypox) is a rare, but potentially serious disease that requires the full mobilization of all available public health resources to prevent the spread," Pritzker said in a statement.

    Monday’s declaration, effective for 30 days, also allows for emergency procurements to aid the state's response.

    IDPH on Tuesday reported 533 probable and confirmed cases in Illinois, making it the state with the third highest case count.

    Illinois has received more than 7,000 doses of vaccine from the federal government, with IDPH saying an additional 13,000 doses are expected in the “near future.”

    Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady praised Pritzker's action in a joint statement, adding the city will not issue its own declaration.

    They said more needs to be done at the federal level to address the outbreak.

     "It is our hope that this declaration joins a chorus of others across the nation and encourages the rapid increase and distribution of vaccines," they said.


  • 4 Aug 2022 8:42 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Were the health equity concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout driven more by unequal vaccine access or lack of patient trust? According to two new studies, published by separate research teams, it may have been both. [Patient EngagementHIT]

    While one study out of the University of Missouri found that vaccine hesitancy among Black people was linked to mistrust from historical and personal experiences of racism in medicine, a separate one from the University of California San Diego indicated unequal vaccine distribution also played a role.

    These findings don’t have to negate one another. The Mizzou researchers noted that unequal vaccine uptake among Black people is only partially explained by vaccine hesitancy; factors like actual vaccine access, as explored by the UCSD researchers, likely compound the disparities.

    Even still, it’s important to understand how each separate issue—patient trust and vaccine access—previously impacted the initial COVID-19 vaccine rollout. This comes amid rumblings that the federal health agencies will begin issuing new vaccines specific to the Omicron subvariant BA.5 in September. Assuring an equitable rollout will mean understanding missteps during the first go around.


    According to the first study from Mizzou, public health leaders will need to consider further strategies to instill trust in traditionally marginalized groups like Black populations. Researcher Wilson Majee conducted a qualitative assessment using interviews with church leaders, lifestyle coaches, and participants of Live Well by Faith.

    READ MORE: How Healthcare Is Starting to Heal Damaged Black Patient Trust

    Live Well by Faith is a community-based health program run by the Boone County Health Department that sets to address chronic disease management in Black communities.

    Respondents said key factors like social determinants of health kept them from getting the shots, as did things like a dearth of Black doctors administering vaccines, medical misinformation, and limited trust in the vaccine development process. Primarily, respondents said the shots were developed too quickly.

    Full article here>


  • 3 Aug 2022 5:38 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

     Nearly nine out of 10 Americans live within five miles of a community pharmacy. This widespread pharmacy care access makes pharmacies an ideal setting to fill patient care access gaps, according to a new analysis published in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association (JAPhA). [Patient EngagmentHIT]

    “Community pharmacies are the front door to the health system,” lead study author Lucas Berenbrok, PharmD, associate professor of pharmacy and therapeutics at the Pitt School of Pharmacysaid in a press release. “They’re often where people start their healthcare journey and are a gateway to connection with other healthcare services.”

    Pharmacy care has expanded beyond its traditional medication-dispensing role, becoming the epicenter of healthcare, the study researchers stated. Now, community pharmacies provide comprehensive medication management, preventive screenings, chronic disease management, immunizations, contraception, and other essential healthcare servicesAnd, importantly, they are often more accessible than traditional healthcare settings, the data showed.

    The study, led by the University of Pittsburgh and University of California San Diego researchers, evaluated driving distances to community pharmacies across the United States.

    Full article here>


  • 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> 


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