Illinois stops paying local health clinics for STD testing

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CHICAGO (AP) _ Illinois has notified more than 100 jails, health departments and family planning programs that it no longer will provide free testing for sexually transmitted diseases at state labs.

A memo dated Sept. 30 says the labs will no longer accept specimens starting this week. The notification was first reported by the Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers.

The programs now must use testing services of commercial private labs or local hospitals.

Illinois Department of Public Health spokeswoman Melaney Arnold says the change will save money, but it’s not related to the state budget impasse between the Legislature and Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Illinois Public Health Association spokesman Tom Hughes says the change comes at a difficult time because the stalemate has stalled other state funding to health departments.