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  • 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> 


  • 14 Sep 2022 2:21 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    The DuPage County Board on Tuesday approved a $5 million allocation for food pantries to help the County’s neediest residents experiencing food insecurity.

    Members of the Board had received requests from local food pantries for funding, and at Tuesday’s Finance Committee meeting, they heard a presentation about the difficulties facing County food pantries, including a dramatic increase in the number of clients in need of food, increases in food costs, and a decrease in donations from food suppliers.

    The Board agreed to provide:

    • $1.75 million to Northern Illinois Food Bank to allow for the purchase of fresh produce, diapers, and personal hygiene and cleaning products for DuPage County food pantries.
    • $1 million to Northern Illinois Food Bank’s 46 partner agencies in DuPage County. A cash assistance distribution will be created and approved by the County Board in October.
    • $2.25 million for investments in distribution infrastructure, including refrigerated vehicles, distribution hub facilities, technology improvements, or future grant opportunities.

    Funds for the proposal were provided through the federal American Rescue Plan Act, which provided DuPage County with more than $179 million to assist with recovery efforts and expenses related to COVID-19.


  • 13 Sep 2022 7:05 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    The number of children under age 19 without health insurance fell to 3.9 million in 2021, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual report on health insurance coverage released today. That’s 475,000 fewer children without coverage than in 2020. [US Census Bureau]

    The uninsured rate among children decreased 0.6 percentage points to 5.0% between 2020 and 2021, driven by an increase in public coverage such as Medicaid and CHIP.

    Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2021 shows that children received coverage from a variety of sources. Most children (61.9%) had private coverage primarily through their parents’ plan (Figure 1) but a growing share above the poverty level were covered by public programs.

    Many lower-income children qualify for public health assistance programs, such as Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).



  • 12 Sep 2022 2:11 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Time to review influencers - where they live, how they can get to work and school, whether they can easily access health and other essential services, how they socialize with family members and friends, and ultimately if they can thrive in a physical environment that supports healthy outcomes.

    Some potential strategies and action steps include focusing on community design, street design and land use policies that make it easier for people to access physical activity, jobs and other essential services, and on the engagement of stakeholders in planning decisions.



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