The Governor made his State of the State address last week, but his address included very few details about the budget challenges that face Illinois in the current and upcoming fiscal years. However, it is clear that any discussions about the state budget will be extremely difficult.
Advocates and legislators are preparing themselves to face additional cuts to programs and services, in order to address the billions of dollars in liabilities that Illinois faces as a result of decreased revenue and increased pension obligations.
Cuts to All Kids and other Medicaid-funded programs are considered “on the table” and it will take all of us to ensure that legislators understand the important role these programs play in keeping women, children, and communities healthy. We’ll need your help to send this message to legislators throughout the session and in Springfield on our lobby day on March 28. Contact Kathy Chan for more details and information on how to participate.
A number of bills of interest to IMCHC and our members have already been introduced. They include:
HB 3027 – Creates a standard for existing sex ed courses to teach medically accurate, age-appropriate, and compete information; includes information on reducing unintended pregnancies and STIs, while also stressing abstinence; applies to grades 6-12 in public schools. Pending House concurrence vote.
HB 4968 – Creates the Hospital Infant Feeding Act, which requires all birthing hospitals in Illinois adopt a policy that promotes breastfeeding and considers guidance provided by the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. Referred to Rules Committee.
SB 3146 – Eliminates the requirement that a physician be appointed the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health and adds requirements that the director have at least five years of administrative experience in public health. Also codifies the existing Medicaid Director’s position. Referred to Assignments.
Contact Kathy Chan if you have health-related bills you’d like us to add to our legislative tracking list.
This month, we celebrate the third anniversary of the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA), which helps fund Illinois’ All Kids program and offers a wide range of policy tools and grants to improve children’s health. Illinois recently received its third consecutive bonus payment from CHIPRA in the amount of $15 million for meeting enrollment goals and having program simplifications in place for federal fiscal year 2011; in total, Illinois has received over $40 million in CHIPRA bonus payments.
While we have done a great job enrolling infants and young children into All Kids, many adolescents remain uninsured, but eligible for All Kids. We encourage you to help connect all families with the All Kids program. It’s easy to apply online through the All Kids website or search for an All Kids Application Agent to help with the application process.
CHIPRA and text4baby (which is celebrating its second birthday this February) are joining forces to jointly promote their programs throughout this month. On February 28, leaders on both issues will come together in Washington, D.C. to focus new attention on these programs and renew the push for enrollment. If you’re interested in coordinating an event locally, IMCHC can provide technical assistance. Contact Kathy Chan for more information.
Collecting stories to support school based health centers
IMCHC is partnering with the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care (NASBHC) to celebrate National SBHC Awareness Month this February.
The 2012 theme is Sharing Our Stories. Celebrate our work, our challenges, and our successes by sharing stories of the impact your school-based health center has had on your students, families, and communities.
The Illinois Coalition for School Health Centers has been collecting hundreds of stories from students across the state that paint a beautiful, optimistic, and often humorous picture of school health centers as trusted providers and allies of the students. These stories will be shared with Governor Quinn and state legislators at our Advocacy Day on March 28.
Here are a few excerpts:
“It’s really important that we have a wellness center because they help people, give them medicine, and they also give flu shots too. They are very nice people helping really nice kids.” -4th grade
“The school health center is important to me because they help you when you’re hurt. Even if you’re having a bad day they make you smile. They’re always here when me or anyone else needs them” -8th grade
“I remember my first time going to the school health center; I came to get my physical. First, I was very, very nervous. I didn’t know what to do or what they were going to do to me. I was also scared that they were going to hurt me. After that I had to get three shots. They were not scary at all and they were actually really nice! They helped my mom save gas and I didn’t have to do makeup work during recess. They took very good care of me and I am thankful for the school health center.” -6th grade
Protecting Our Infants from Pertussis funded by the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust
This month, the CVS Charitable Trust surprised 98 nonprofits across the country with grant awards totaling more than $4.3 million! We are pleased to announce that the Chicago Area Immunization Campaign received $35,000 for a new project focused on reducing the spread of pertussis in Cook, DuPage, and Lake Counties. This project will traget infants, new parents, caretakers and health care personnel with close infant contact, as well as parents, providers, and schools.
We are confident that this initiative will have a signficant impact on pertussis immunization rates in the most populous Illinois counties, successfully educate thousands on the dangers of pertussis, and, ultimately, save the lives of infants that are too young to be immunized themselves.
You can learn more about this project on our website and read the press release from CVS here.