Gov. Pritzker signs healthcare reform legislation in Illinois

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill.– Gov. JB Pritzker signed the Health Care and Human Services Reform act into law today. The legislation is a major step in the work to expand health equity across Illinois.

The legislation takes action to address health inequities and obstacles. It also establishes new programs, increases oversight and training, builds a Community Health Worker certification program, and improves transparency.

 “This legislation advances a key belief of mine that I know is shared by everyone standing with me, and millions of residents across Illinois: healthcare is a right, not a privilege,” said Gov. Pritzker. “Thanks to the Black Caucus’ four pillars, now law, Illinois is a few steps closer to the justice our residents deserve.” 

This legislation builds upon significant administration efforts toward health equity including expanding telehealth coverage in order to increase healthcare access to vulnerable and rural populations.

The Health Care and Human Services Reform Act will: 

Expand Health Care Access and Equity 

  • Creates a Community Health Workers program which will include training and certification, ensuring Illinoisans are better able to access help from trained health workers. 
  • Adds implicit bias training to the required training for interns, residents and physicians so that they are better prepared to serve all of Illinois’ residents.  
  • Creates the Underlying Causes of Crime and Violence Study Act, which will study how to create a process to identify high violence communities, also known as R3 (Restore, Reinvest, and Renew) areas, and prioritize state dollars to address underlying health issues and underlying causes of violence. 
  • Reduces taxes on all blood sugar testing products to 1%. 
  • Amends the Employee Paid Sick Leave Act to include care of children, parents, step-parents, in-laws, and grandparents.  
  • Requires the Health Facilities and Services Review Board conduct a racial equity impact assessment for all future hospital closure applications that is publicly viewable. 
  • Creates the Health and Human Services Taskforce which will review health and human service departments and programs with the goal of improving health and human service outcomes for Illinois residents. 
  • Creates the Anti-Racism Commission to identify and propose statewide policies to eliminate systemic racism. 
  • Creates the Medicaid Business Opportunity Commission within HFS to develop a program to support and grow minority, women, and persons with disability owned businesses. 

Improve Children’s Health, Women’s Health, Mental Health and Addresses Substance Abuse 

  • Requires day care providers to be trained in childhood emotional learning, trauma, and adverse experiences.  
  • Creates the Special Commission on Gynecologic Cancer to study issues relating to gynecologic cancer and present a report to reduce disparities and promote best practices. 
  • Prevents a person who seeks or obtains emergency medical assistance for an overdose or someone experiencing an overdose from being arrested or charged. 
  • Expands coverage of doula services and home visiting services for pregnant women. 
  • Increases payment rates for psychiatric treatment at hospitals serving primarily low-income patients. 

Improve Quality of Care for All Illinois Residents 

  • Requires that any intern, resident, or physician providing services at a hospital have proper credentials and any required certificates for ongoing training.  
  • Instructs hospitals to provide N95 masks to all physicians and nurses free of charge. 
  • Increases dementia training and requires continuing annual trainings. 

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