Winger’s Weekly Wrap-Up for September 4th

DuPage Emergency Communications Center Now Open
Representative Winger recently participated in the dedication ceremony of DuPage County's new DU-COMM 9-1-1 Communications Center in Wheaton.

DuPage Public Safety Communications (DU-COMM) is an intergovernmental agency that was formed in 1975 to provide emergency communications services to police, fire, and emergency medical services for 44 police and fire agencies in DuPage County. The new facility in Wheaton has been upgraded to more adequately facilitate the needs of DU-COMM and the county.

2018 Session Review

Every year Representative Winger produces a newsletter to provide information on what was accomplished in the District community and in Springfield. You can now access this year’s newsletter here.

University of Illinois Springfield Becomes First Hub of Illinois Innovation Network
During the General Assembly’s spring 2018 session, the legislature built a foundation for job creation in the 21st century. Working within the confines of the FY19 budget, the State allocated $500 million to the new Illinois Innovation Network. The Network will build hubs throughout the state to connect team members with the Discovery Partners Institute. The Institute will be a new high-tech neighborhood to be built in the Burnham Bend in Chicago’s South Loop. Closely affiliated with the University of Illinois, the Institute will consist of teams that will bring together research and innovation projects from all over Illinois.

State and local officials announced on Tuesday, August 28 that the first hub of the Illinois Innovation Network will be part of the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS). Seed money will refit existing office space in Springfield’s downtown, and support for the new hub project from Springfield’s mayor means that the Network may get new, purpose-built space soon for itself. The new hub moves beyond UIS’ existing capacity as an “incubator” for small business to also include ultra-high-speed data links with other incubation locations and future Innovation Network hubs. The hub creation was announced by Governor Rauner.

Governor Extends Health Insurance to Fertility Preservation
Young cancer patients struggling for survival no longer have to give up the prospect of parenthood when they undergo potentially sterilizing treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation or surgery.

A new law (HB 2617) signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner amends the Illinois insurance code to require coverage of egg or sperm preservation, a well-established medical practice that gives hope to patients who receive life-saving cancer treatment that they can one day have their own children.

“Thousands of young Illinois adults of child-bearing age are diagnosed with cancer each year,” said Rauner. “With this legislation, we give them a way to overcome the burden of high out-of-pocket expenses for egg or sperm freezing so they can preserve an option to have a family in the future.”

The Oncofertility Consortium at Northwestern University was one of many health care providers who supported the precedent-setting legislation. Illinois is the third, and by far the largest, state in the U.S. to enact a law requiring insurance coverage of fertility preservation. Only Connecticut and Rhode Island have similar laws.

“Every day in Illinois, 18 young adults and children are diagnosed with cancer,” said Teresa K. Woodruff, director of the Consortium, dean of the graduate school, and Watkins professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Feinberg School of Medicine.

“Today, the State of Illinois recognized that preserving fertility in the cancer setting is a medical need and that insurance should be provided to ensure young adults don’t have to choose between life-preserving treatments and fertility interventions,” she continued. “This is a win for science and more importantly, this is a win for families. This legislation will help young people and families make crucial decisions and help them afford the treatments.”

As a consequence of the Oncofertility Consortium and the organization of this new field of medicine, a cancer diagnosis is no longer associated with the fatal loss of fertility. HB 2617 demonstrates that fertility preservation has transitioned from research to standard of care. Now, young cancer patients will have access to insurance resources for their medical and fertility treatments.

Rauner noted that the signing of HB 2617 capped off a year of extraordinary advances for health care in Illinois. The goal has been to use evidence-based strategies to deliver higher quality care and slow the growth in health care costs.

The highlights include a $2 billion Medicaid waiver — Better Care Illinois — to pilot a dozen service innovations in mental health and substance abuse. Illinois also has been aggressively expanding its fight against opioids with programs in prevention, treatment and emergency response. The Governor’s Task Force on Medicaid Fraud has saved more than $450 million for Illinois taxpayers. Veterans and homeless veterans, physical therapy patients and the elderly have benefitted from greater access to care.

HB 2617 was widely supported by local and national health advocates, medical associations, insurance providers and nonprofits. Among them were the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the Illinois State Medical Society, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Susan G. Komen Chicago and Gilda’s Club.

Illinois Public Universities to Provide $50 Million in Additional MAP Grant Aid
The cost of this program will be split 50/50 between the Illinois state budget and by the universities where the student beneficiaries are enrolled. Like existing MAP grants, the additional money will provide merit-based student funding to which students and their families will apply based upon financial need. Financial need is determined by formula following the submission by students and their families of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) student aid eligibility form. The MAP grant bill was signed on Sunday, August 26, by Governor Rauner.

New Law Strengthens Effort to Combat Opioid Crisis
Gov. Bruce Rauner took another step Monday to strengthen the state’s effort to combat the opioid crisis by requiring medical professionals to take 3 hours of existing continuing education on how to safely prescribe opioid medications. The education requirement became law when he signed Senate Bill 2777 amending the Illinois Controlled Substance Act.

“We’re fighting this opioid crisis every day,” Rauner said. “It’s impacted too many families here in Illinois. We’ve given people who struggle with substance use more opportunities to get the help they need. We’ve started a 24-hour Helpline where they can get connected to treatment options. There’s a standing order for using opioid reversing Naloxone. We’ve boosted reporting requirements to our Prescription Monitoring Program to halt ‘doctor-shopping.’”

“Now, we want to make sure our doctors see potential signs of abuse and are cautious when prescribing opioid medications to those who need them, cutting back on the potential for addiction,” he continued.

Impacted professions that hold a separate controlled substance license include: Physicians, Podiatric Physicians, Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, Physician Assistants, Dentists, Clinical Psychologists, Optometrists, and Veterinarians.

An estimated 11 million Americans have misused opioids in the past year, approximately 1.9 million Americans are addicted to opioids, and 4 out of 5 heroin users started out on prescription opioids

“This law along with the Department’s adoption of the Federation of State Medical Board’s Guidelines on the Use of Opioids in the Treatment of Chronic Pain in Administrative Rule (which became effective July 6) is a vital part of efforts to educate prescribers and is in line with the initiatives set forth by the Governor’s Opioid Prevention and Intervention Task Force,” said Jessica Baer, IDFPR Division of Professional Regulation Director. “The misuse of prescription opioids has become prolific and vastly contributed to the current epidemic Illinois faces.”

Illinois released its State Opioid Action Plan along with Executive Order 2017-05, establishing the Governor’s Opioid Prevention and Intervention Task Force in September 2017.

Alternatives to Opioids Act of 2018
Governor Rauner has signed the Alternatives to Opioids Act of 2018, adding those who might otherwise seek opioids for pain management to the list of those eligible for medical marijuana.

“This law will give thousands of Illinoisans who struggle with the negative side effects of opioids, including harmful addiction, another choice to manage their pain,” the governor said. “This is not about personal opinions about cannabis. It’s about giving people more control over their own health care and pain-relief options.”

The Illinois Department of Public Health reports opioid deaths in Illinois increased 13 percent from 2016 to 2017. Meanwhile, the Journal of the American Medical Association has reported that states with medical marijuana dispensaries have seen a 14.4 percent decrease in the use of prescription opioids.

The new law, Senate Bill 336, puts in place a pilot program that will not compromise patient safety or diminish medical marijuana program standards, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Licensed physicians must certify an individual has a medical condition for which an opioid has been or could be prescribed. Participants must register at a licensed dispensary. The program is limited to individuals 21 and older. Dispensations are limited to 2.5 ounces every 14 days and cannot exceed 90 days per physician certification.

The Alternatives to Opioids Act of 2018 also allows those applying for a medical cannabis registry card for one of the qualified conditions to access medical cannabis while their application is being reviewed.


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