"This new year brings positive changes in Illinois health care,"
said Gov. Blagojevich. "Each law, in its own way, will help improve
the quality of life and increase health awareness for Illinoisans. I
am pleased to see these new laws take effect."
coverage for eating disorders
According to the Surgeon General's Report on Mental Health, 3
percent of young women have an eating disorder. Now, because of
House Bill 1432, sponsored by state Rep. Fred Crespo and state
Sen. John Cullerton, the legal definition of "serious mental
illness" will be expanded to include the eating disorders anorexia
nervosa and bulimia nervosa. This will allow people with those
specific illnesses to obtain related insured coverage. Other
illnesses already included in the "serious mental illness"
definition include schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and panic
February is now Women's Heart Disease Awareness Month
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the
United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and
House Bill 5596, sponsored by state Rep. Elizabeth Coulson and
state Sen. Pamela Althoff, designates the month of February as
Women's Heart Disease Awareness Month in an effort to increase
awareness of the cardiovascular risks women face.
New privacy protections for genetic testing
Genetic testing has afforded many people the opportunity to learn
their level of risk for certain illnesses. However, that awareness
can bring about concern for patient privacy in the workplace. Under
Senate Bill 2399, sponsored by state Sen. Terry Link and state
Rep. Kathleen Ryg, employers will be prohibited from discriminating
against employees based on results from genetic testing. The bill
also requires that the use of genetic testing information by
employers, employment agencies, labor organizations and licensing
agencies be consistent with federal law.
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Teacher training on chronic health conditions
Senate Bill 2685, sponsored by state Sen. William Delgado and
state Rep. Tom Cross, teachers institutes will be required to add
instruction on chronic health conditions prevalent amongst students
to their list of discussed issues, starting with the 2009-2010
school year. Teachers institutes are training workshops that school
districts conduct under the guidance of the regional superintendent.
Rashidi Wheeler law
House Bill 1279, sponsored by state Rep. Daniel Burke and state
Sen. Martin Sandoval, requires outdoor physical fitness and sports
facilities to have an automated external defibrillator on-site. This
bill is known as the R.A.W. Initiative and was named after
Northwestern University football player Rashidi Wheeler, who died
during practice in 2001. After a review of the tragic incident, it
was determined that an on-site AED could have saved Wheeler's life.
[Text from file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information; LDN staff]