"Every person in Illinois deserves access to quality health care,
and we have worked hard over the past four years to improve both
quality and access to health care for all Illinois residents,"
Blagojevich said. "We've helped more children get health insurance
through our All Kids program. More women are now eligible for free
breast and cervical cancer screenings and treatment through our
expansion of the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program. Our
primary seat belt law means fewer people are dying on Illinois
roadways. Our state is a healthier place to live today, and this new
study is further proof."
"America's Health Rankings," produced by United Health Foundation
in partnership with the American Public Health Association and
Partnership for Prevention, is a yearly assessment of the relative
healthiness of the nation. The report is based upon analysis of
comprehensive determining factors such as personal behaviors, the
environment in which people live and work, the decisions made by
public and elected officials, and the quality of medical care
delivered by health professionals. The report ranks such factors as
smoking prevalence, infectious disease, health insurance, prenatal
care, motor vehicle deaths, children in poverty, immunization
coverage and cancer deaths.
"Illinois has steadily improved in the overall health of the
population since 2002," said Archello Georgiou, medical advisory for
United Health Foundation. "One of the most significant improvements
in Illinois is the prevalence of smoking: down to 19.9 percent from
22.2 percent in 2005 and down from 28.7 percent in 1990."
"Under the direction of Governor Blagojevich, the Illinois
Department of Public Health in the past year awarded $15 million in
grants for stem cell research to help discover new treatments or
cures for diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, increased
funding for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, and created the
Division of Patient Safety with the goal of reducing medical errors
and improving patient care," said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, director of
the Illinois Department of Public Health. "These are just a few
examples of how Illinois is working to improve the health of our
believes that health care is a fundamental right, and he has taken
tremendous steps to help every Illinoisan get the care they need,"
said Barry Maram, director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare
and Family Services. "Through the governor's efforts, we have
provided health care to every uninsured child in the state, ensured
that no senior was left behind by Medicare Part D and expanded
access to health care to over half a million Illinoisans who did not
have health care before."
Recent improvements to health care in Illinois include the
On July 1, 2006, coverage began for Blagojevich's
All Kids program, which made Illinois the first state in the nation
to offer affordable, comprehensive health coverage to every
uninsured child. The program covers immunizations, doctor visits and
many other health care services, such as hospital stays,
prescription drugs, vision care and dental care, as well as medical
devices like eyeglasses and asthma inhalers. Under Blagojevich,
Illinois has provided health coverage to nearly 300,000 children who
didn't have it before, including more than 115,000 children who have
enrolled in All Kids since the governor signed the program into law.
[to top of second column]
Division of Patient Safety: Blagojevich signed an executive
order in July 2006 creating the Division of Patient Safety with the
goal of reducing medical errors and improving patient safety. The
division will look at e-prescribing, developing standardized
medication practices to reduce adverse drug effects and expanding
the nursing home database.
August 2006, the governor convened the Council on Health and
Physical Fitness, which is made up of Illinois' leading health and
fitness advocates, who will serve to promote exercise and good
nutrition across the state. Council members will work to encourage
residents to adopt new exercise and eating habits as well as address
the epidemics attributed to obesity and chronic disease.
Blagojevich's Council on Health and Physical Fitness:
September 2006, Blagojevich expanded the Illinois Breast and
Cervical Cancer Program to allow 3,000 additional uninsured,
low-income women to be screened and more than 400 additional women
to be treated this year through the Healthcare Benefits for Persons
with Breast or Cervical Cancer Act. Since Blagojevich has taken
office, more than 126,000 breast and cervical cancer screenings have
been performed through programs in the Illinois Department of Public
Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program expanded:
In 2006, Blagojevich expanded a smoking cessation campaign to promote use of
the Quitline through a public-private partnership among state
agencies, provider organizations and the American Lung Association.
The Illinois Tobacco Quitline is a help line that offers free,
confidential counseling through all stages of the quitting process,
including nutrition and weight management, information about
cessation medications, and management skills for dealing with
withdrawal symptoms. Hours for the Quitline, 1-866-QUIT-YES
(784-8937) or 1-866-784-8937, are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m.
to 7 p.m. The Department of Healthcare and Family Services is also
piloting creative strategies in communities to educate pregnant and
postpartum women about health risks, to them and their babies,
caused by smoking and the benefits of quitting.
Efforts to increase
launched a comprehensive HIV/AIDS awareness campaign called BASUAH,
Brothers And Sisters United Against HIV/AIDS, to address the
alarming trend of infection among the state's African-American
community. Through community outreach, testing and positive peer
influence, BASUAH is helping to reduce new cases of HIV/AIDS while
empowering people with the knowledge to better protect themselves.
Blagojevich created the Health Care
Justice Act, encouraging Illinois to implement a health care plan
that provides access to a full range of preventive, acute and
long-term health care services and maintains and improves the
quality of health care services. The legislation established the
Adequate Health Care Task Force with 29 voting members. Public
hearings were conducted in each Illinois congressional district to
gather input for a task force report that is currently being created
and details recommendations for a health care access plan.
Health Care Justice Act:
To view the entire report from the United Health Foundation
[News release from the governor's office]