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  • 24 Mar 2022 10:17 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Half of all states and nearly three quarters of all counties experienced more deaths than births in their populations between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021, according to U.S. Census Bureau population estimates released today.

    Natural change is a measure of the relationship between births and deaths.

    Natural increase happens when there are more births than deaths. Natural decrease means there were more people dying than babies born in a particular population.

    Areas with large aging populations often experience natural decrease and shrinking populations in the absence of migration. 

    Although more stats experienced natural decrease in 2021, patterns at the state level may mask trends in lower levels of geography.

    While widespread, natural decrease was more common in some regions in 2021:

    • Seven out of nine states (78%) in the Northeast had more deaths than births, making this the region with the most widespread natural decrease in 2021.
    • The West had the lowest share of states with natural decrease — three out of 13 (23%).
    • More states in the South had natural decrease than increase (65%); the reverse was true in the Midwest, where 33% of states had more deaths than births.

     Full article here> 


  • 23 Mar 2022 10:14 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    A Senate committee signed off Tuesday on a plan its sponsor says will help diversify the healthcare workforce in Illinois.[Health News Illinois 3.23.2022]

    The bill, sponsored by Sen. Mattie Hunter, D-Chicago, creates a framework for student loan repayment and scholarship programs that prioritize those from underserved communities entering the healthcare field.

    “This bill also supports recruitment and retention of a healthcare workforce that better reflects, represents and understands the patients that they are serving and community-based providers that serve a high proportion of Medicaid and uninsured patients,” Hunter said.

    Funds for the programs are subject to appropriation.

    Amber Kirchhoff, director of state public policy and governmental affairs at the Illinois Primary Health Care Association, told lawmakers the proposal is similar to an existing student loan repayment program that provides loans in exchange for those who work in underserved communities.

    The committee also approved a plan by Sen. Mike Simmons, D-Chicago, to create a division of men’s health within the Department of Public Health, which would raise awareness of health issues specific to men, including prostate and testicular cancer and heart disease.

    Simmons told colleagues the agency is tasked with designating a worker to look after men’s health, but the position has been unfilled.

     “Ultimately, I think this will help us to increase life expectancy for men,” Simmons said.


  • 22 Mar 2022 10:43 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Joel Segal joins panel to discuss homelessness, nationally, and proposes ideas and solutions that are working now.  He is the national campaign director for Bring America Home which is a program with the National Coalition for the Homeless. 

    Mr. Segal has a extensive experience in policy making and with homeless programs. 

    ·        Co-authored the first bill ever introduced in the U.S. Congress to end involuntary homelessness, the Bring America Home Act, in 2004.

    ·        Senior legislative assistant in Congress working on universal health care, homelessness, global HIV/AIDS, and ending poverty. He was the staff director of Rep. Conyers' Congressional Universal Health Care Task Force and the Out of Poverty Caucus.

    ·        Founder and leader of America's 2000 Universal Health Care and Global HIV/AIDS civil society advocacy movements.

    ·        He led efforts in Congress to reduce resident physician work hours. He co-authored unprecedented federal legislation which both the AMA and the ACGME adopted.

    ·        In addition, Segal led efforts in Congress to prevent the closing of the Detroit Medical Center, the largest Trauma 1 Public Hospital in Detroit, from going bankrupt by forging a bipartisan coalition of Democrats and Republicans. As a result, $40 million was allocated from the George W. Bush Administration to keep the hospital open.

    ·        He also was the co-author of the Katrina Relief Act and led efforts in Congress to pass the bill by working closely with the staff of then-House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi.  

    Join the virtual program 'Homelessness is  Public Health and Healthcare Issue' on March 25, 2022. More details and to register here. 


  • 21 Mar 2022 9:48 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday announced a children’s behavioral health initiative to oversee coordination across state agencies with the aim of making specialized support and resources more easily available to children and families. (Chicago Tribune 3.18.2022,Photo Antonio Perez, Chicago Tribune)

    The initiative will evaluate and redesign the system of children’s health in the state, from school social workers and counselors to outpatient treatments and residential care centers, Pritzker said at a news conference at Lawrence Hall, a Ravenswood center that provides care for abused and neglected youths and their families.

    The initiative will produce a “transformation blueprint” for better support of children in need by the end of this year, Pritzker said.

    Children needing mental health services or support for an intellectual or developmental disability often run into a system that is “inefficient, confusing and difficult to navigate,” Pritzker said.

    “If a kid needs help, it should be as straightforward as possible for them to get it,” Pritzker said. “As a result of this work, Illinois families will be better able to access holistic, wraparound support for children in need.”

    Pritzker tapped Dana Weiner, a child welfare expert from the University of Chicago’s Chapin Hall, which researches best ways to improve children’s health services, to direct the initiative. Weiner’s work prioritizes evidence-based research to produce policies and services that best meet children’s needs.

    Weiner will work with the leaders from six state agencies, including the Department of Children and Family Services, the Department of Public Health and the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, to streamline services. The heads of those agencies, as well as lawmakers and community service providers, joined Pritzker on Friday to announce the initiative.

    Families presently needing support and services for their children lack “consistent, transparent solutions to the challenges they face,” Weiner said.

    “This uncertainty can threaten the healthy development of children and the integrity and stability of families,” Weiner said. “What we need is an intentional, coordinated strategy to get families the help they need for children who are struggling.”

    The announcement comes as a Cook County Juvenile Court judge has ordered DCFS Director Marc Smith to be held in contempt of court seven times since January for failing to place troubled youth in appropriate placements quickly.

    State Sen. Karina Villa, a West Chicago Democrat, said working as a school social worker and seeing the desperation in parents’ eyes as their children were put on months long waitlists for therapy, counseling and other services, or turned away altogether is what made her run for office.

    “A few years after getting inaugurated, I stand here with all of you, and I stand here saying the hope is here,” Villa said. “We are ready, we know what the issues are with mental health, we know that there needs to be changes. And the future depends on it, our students’ lives, our children’s lives, our families’ lives, our community lives, the lives of the communities of color that have been disproportionately impacted by so much in regards to COVID.

    “We know that the time is now.”


    Download this article here>  


  • 18 Mar 2022 9:00 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    AHA releases infographic with keys to prioritizing the mental health of mothers and families. 

    Download the infographic here. 


  • 17 Mar 2022 9:10 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    As part of the Maternal and Infant Health Initiative, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is pleased to announce the Improving Maternal Health by Reducing Low-Risk Cesarean Delivery (LRCD) Learning Collaborative, which will use two strategies to offer technical assistance to states and their partners: (1) a webinar series and (2) an affinity group.

    For more details and to register for the webinars, visit this page. 

    Cesarean deliveries place birthing individuals and infants at higher risk for adverse outcomes. Reducing the rate of cesarean births for individuals at low risk from a vaginal birth provides an opportunity to improve both maternal and infant health. Nationally, the Medicaid LRCD rate was 25.9 percent in 2020, with marked disparities by race (30.6 percent among Black birthing persons and 24.7 percent among White birthing persons). As the largest single payer of pregnancy-related services, state Medicaid and CHIP agencies have an important role to play in reducing the number of LRCD births, reducing disparities, and improving health equity.

    The learning collaborative will begin with a webinar series open to all state Medicaid and CHIP agencies and stakeholders demonstrating the potential impact of LRCD on maternal and infant health, describing disparities in the populations who have LRCDs, and outlining the approaches Medicaid and CHIP agencies may put in place to reduce the number of LRCD births. 

    See full details here.


  • 16 Mar 2022 10:34 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

        WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) secured $211 million through Congressionally-directed spending for Illinois projects in the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) Omnibus appropriations bill. The bill passed the Senate and now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

    U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) secured $211 million through Congressionally-directed spending for Illinois projects in the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) Omnibus appropriations bill. The bill passed the Senate and now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law. 

    “I’m pleased I was able to secure funding for important projects that will help clean up our water, improve our state’s infrastructure, expand healthcare access, create jobs and tackle environmental injustice issues facing communities across Illinois,” said Duckworth.

    A brief list of projects that are healthcare, mental health, environmental and related to IOMC's mission: 

    • Hospital Upgrades, Dixon: $334,000 to Katherine Shaw Bethea Hospital to renovate three labor and delivery rooms to include new casework, lighting and equipment, and restroom facilities.
    •  Community Violence Prevention Initiative, Chicago: $640,000 for Advocate Aurora Health System and University of Chicago Medicine to conduct a targeted neighborhood assessment to understand the specific causes of violence and the local strategies that may work best to prevent and intervene in violence. 
    • Evidence-based violence reduction initiative, Chicago: $500,000 to Heartland Alliance to support READI Chicago, an evidence-based violence reduction initiative providing intensive, innovative programming to men at the highest risk of gun violence involvement. 
    •  Fox River Restoration: $250,000 for the Corps to complete the feasibility study for the environmental restoration of the polluted Fox River.
    • Senior Meals and Workforce Development Programs, Chicago: $1 million to the Chinese American Service League (CASL) to expand their Senior Meals Program.
    • Education/Employment Resources for Adolescents, Cook County: $315,000 to Cook County Health for a new Emergency Medical Technician Apprenticeship.
    •  Health Simulation Lab, Chicago: $450,000 to Chicago State University to purchase science laboratory equipment for the Health Sciences Simulation Lab.
    •  Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, New Lenox: $500,000 to Silver Cross Hospital to build the Cook County’s first and only Level 3 NICU to provide advanced care for premature newborns, full-term babies with congenital disorders, and address infant mortality rate.
    • Hospital Mobile Health Care Unit, Chicago: $600,000 to Lurie Children’s Hospital to deliver health care services and skilled professionals to medically underserved communities.
    • Center for Immersive Learning, Aurora: $775,000 to Aurora University to provide hands-on training opportunities for AU’s nearly 800 nursing students.
    •  Mental Health Center Renovation and Expansion, Quincy: $800,000 to The Knowledge Center at Chaddock to expand and improve child and adolescent mental health care.
    • Nurse Training & Workforce Development, Peoria: $850,000 to Bradley University to support state-of-the-art training and education to nursing students.
    •  Behavioral Health Institute Renovation, Chicago: $900,000 to Holy Cross (Sinai) Hospital to increase access to substance use and mental health treatment for patients.
    • Federally Qualified Health Center Expansion, Belleville: $1 million to Chestnut Health Systems to expand their Federally Qualified Health Center services to Belleville.
    • Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases, Chicago: $1 million to Rush University to help establish their Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases.
    •  Outpatient Facility Rehabilitation Project, Carterville: $1 million to Southern Illinois Healthcare to renovate the outpatient rehabilitation buildings at Herrin Hospital and in Carterville, Illinois, into a single location recently acquired by SIH.
    •  Regional Center for Equity and Professional Development, Springfield$1 million to the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine to create a Regional Center for Equity and Professional Development.
    •  Young Adult Program Building Renovation, Chicago: $1 million to Thresholds to renovate and expand existing treatment space to enable it to serve more patients. 
    •  Community Health Clinic Expansion, Whiteside County: $1 million to Whiteside County to expand the county-operated Community Health Clinic.
    •  Special Olympics Programming, Chicago: $600,000 to Special Olympics Chicago to expand its offered activities.
    •  Mental Health Peer Support Program, Chicago$90,000 to expand NAMI’s Peer Support Program for individuals with lived mental health experiences providing support services for families and individuals facing mental health challenges.
    •  Rapid Response Naloxone Program, Will County: $175,000 to Will County to support an opioid overdose intervention program.
    •  Federally Qualified Health Center Expansion, Chicago: $1 million to Esperanza Health Center to support a significant expansion of Esperanza’s flagship Federally Qualified Health Center in the low-income, predominantly-Latino community of Brighton Park.
    •  Facilities and Equipment Upgrades for Drug and Alcohol Rehab Centers, Illinois: $1.33 million to the Gateway Foundation Inc. for facilities and equipment upgrades at rehab centers throughout the state.
    • Telehealth Initiative, La Grange: $345,000 to Pillars Community Health, for a telehealth initiative and equipment.
    •  Healthcare Facilities and Equipment Upgrades, Carterville: $3.75 million to Shawnee Health Service and Development Corporation, for facilities and equipment.
    •  Medical School Facilities and Equipment Upgrades, Springfield: $1.05 million to SIU School of Medicine for facilities and equipment.

    Full list of funding appropriations here> 


  • 15 Mar 2022 9:11 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Register for the March 25th virtual program and gain an understanding on this critical question if homelessness is a public health and healthcare issue? 

    Over the past ten years, there has been much attention on reducing poverty and achieving functional zero in homelessness. Nevertheless, unfortunately, government leaders and others have not supported top providers or best practices to make a difference or meet goals.  Chicago is trying to address homelessness and has in many ways over the years.

    If the lack of focus and priority standing among policymakers, corporate among issues and private allocation of resources and worsening trends are the performance metric, then we deserve an "F" on both counts. A recent panelist gave this grade during a virtual program held by IOMC in February.

    As an example, Chicago reduced the number of homeless beds by 10% (from 3300 pre-pandemic to 3,000 now). During the pandemic, there has been a well-documented surge in the mental health, opioid and homeless epidemics, mainly due to the pandemic.

    A dynamic discussion is planned with our outstanding speakers. 

    Moderator: Courtney Avery, MPH, Board Director, Institute of Medicine of Chicago, Billings Society Fellow

    • Neli Vazquez-Rowland, President and Co-founder, A Safe Haven Foundation
    • Representative La Shawn K. Ford (D) - Previous General Assembly (101st) 8th District
    • Joel Segal, National Campaign Director of the Bring America Home Campaign

    More details and to register  visit this page.


  • 14 Mar 2022 6:02 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Albert Bourla, PhD, CEO of Pfizer, said a second booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine is necessary for protection against infection, according to a March 13 interview with CBS News.[ Beckers Hospital Review 3.14.2022]

     Dr. Bourla said the third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine provides protection from hospitalization and death, but "it's not that good against infections" and the protection is relatively short-lived. Pfizer is preparing data for the FDA about the need for a fourth dose. 

    "Many variants are coming," Dr. Bourla told CBS. "And omicron was the first one that was able to evade in a skillful way the immune protection that we were giving. But also, in all that the duration of the protection, it doesn't last very long.” 

    The CDC recommends people receive a booster shot five months after receiving their second shot of either the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccine or two months after receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

    In February, the CDC published a study showing the efficacy of booster shots of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines waned after about four months, but still provided significant protection from hospitalizations during the omicron surge.

    Dr. Bourla also told CNBC that Pfizer is developing a vaccine that will protect against all COVID-19 variants, including omicron, for at least a year. He expects to review data from trials on the long-term vaccine by the end of the month. 


  • 10 Mar 2022 8:52 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Congress is set to grant a five-month extension to telehealth flexibilities, created during the pandemic, as part of the 2022 omnibus spending bill made public March 9.[Becker's Health Review 3.9.2022]

    The $1.5 trillion omnibus legislation, which would set spending levels for defense and nondefense spending for fiscal 2022, would also extend the telehealth federal public health emergency, which is set to expire in April, until Sept. 14. 

    The extension would permit the following telehealth flexibilities to continue:

    • Medicare would cover the cost of telehealth visits, including some audio-only visits, for adults 65 and older.

    • The bill will allow all Medicare-enrolled providers to bill for telehealth services.

    • Medicare will cover all telehealth visits that take place in a patients' home and in medical facilities.

    • The bill would postpone the requirement that older adults, who seek virtual mental health services, must have an in-person visit six months after receiving a telehealth visit.

    The bill also expands practitioners eligible to provide telehealth services to include occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech-language pathologists and audiologists. 

    The telehealth accommodations extended by the omnibus spending bill will be voted on by the House on March 9 and will be sent to the Senate on March 11. 


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