On Tuesday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the Health Care and Human Services Reform Act into law. The Illinois Health Care and Human Services Reform Act, HB 158, takes effect immediately.
The legislation, which represents the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus’ healthcare pillar, addresses health inequities and obstacles, establishes new programs, increases oversight and training, builds out a Community Health Worker certification and training program and improves transparency.
“Healthcare is a right, not a privilege. Thanks to the Black Caucus’ four pillars, now law, Illinois is a few steps closer to the justice our residents deserve,” Pritzker said.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the systemic economic, educational and health disparities that have historically plagued African Americans across our country. For centuries, Black people have been disrespected, abused and misused in the name of health care, starting with the abuse of the enslaved,” Senate Majority Caucus Chair Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) said.
The Health Care and Human Services Reform Act:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.