Quinn Signs Four Health Bills


Gov. Pat Quinn on Tuesday signed four pieces of legislation designed to improve the health and care for Ilinois residents.

The new laws require insurance coverage for diabetes management education programs, improved dental care for children,  an increase in education on the importance of preventative cardiovascular screenings, and  patients' access to a vast online database of Illinois's 46,565 physicians and surgeons.

"Preventative care is the key to staying healthy. Cardiovascular checkups, proper diabetes management and good dental health for our kids will save and improve lives by helping people prevent minor health issues from becoming emergencies." Quinn said in a press release. "Another key to good health is a great doctor, which is why we're ensuring that all of the important information needed to select a physician is online and available 24 hours a day."

House Bill 2249 requires insurance companies to cover education programs to help diabetics maintain their AC1 levels within the normal range. The A1C is an industry standard diagnostic test for a diabetic's blood sugar level and is the most useful diagnostic test available, according to the American Diabetes Association. HB2249 is sponsored by Rep. JoAnn Osmond (R-Antioch) and Sen. William Haine (D-Alton), and the bill will go into effect beginning January 1.

HB 2249 also adds educational programs to diabetes self-management training to ensure that patients are receiving the full scope of information they need to manage their disease and reduce complications.

Senate Bill 1948 will improve access to dental care for low-income children by requiring the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services to work with the dental community to develop and promote "dental home" for children covered under the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), All Kids and Medicaid programs.

"Providing a dental home for children goes hand-in-hand with our efforts to promote preventative health care measures for children and families that keep them health, instead of just paying the bills after they get sick," said HFS Director Julie Hamos in a press release on the legislation.

Under the dental home concept, dentists will collaborate to deliver comprehensive, coordinated and family-centered preventive and restorative oral health care services, building on a national campaign by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry to address the dental needs of children in Head Start and assistance programs. Currently, there are few dentists in Illinois available to meet the needs of these children.

A third bill, House Bill 3039, requires that insurers provide annual information regarding the importance and value of early detection  and proactive management of cardiovascular disease.

This new legislation targets the benefit of woman in particular. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer of women in the U.S. Heart attacks, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases kill more women than the next five causes combined, according to the AHA. Minority woman are especially impacted by cardiovascular disease, as 45 percent of African American women suffer from cardiovascular disease compared with 32 percent of white women.

HB 3039 takes effect immediately, although doctors have 60 days to update their information.

The final piece of legislation, House Bill 105 or "the Patients' Right to Know Act," requires the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to make physician profiles available for public inspection, featuring an online database. The database will compiled a range on information that includes years in practice, hospital privileges, educational information, disciplinary actions, Medicaid participation, journal articles and translation services offered. The bill takes effect immediately.

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