Highlights New Law Benefiting Rural Hospitals; Celebrates Nursing Home Reforms

BENTON - August 28, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today toured several health care facilities in southern Illinois to highlight a new law that will benefit critical access hospitals, especially in rural parts of the state, and nursing home reforms.

"It is critical that all Illinoisans have access to the medical care they need to live healthy lives. It is also very important that our most vulnerable citizens are kept safe when receiving care at a hospital or nursing home," said Governor Quinn. "We must continue to do everything we can, including enacting good legislation, to improve our health care system."

The Governor's first stop was Franklin Hospital, a critical access hospital in Benton, where he met with hospital administrators and local legislators to tour the facility. During his visit, Governor Quinn stressed the importance of newly signed legislation that will make sure citizens in rural parts of the state have access to medical care.

Governor Quinn recently signed House Bill 5765, sponsored by Sen. Gary Forby (D-Benton) and Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion), which will go into effect on Jan. 11, 2011. The new law particularly benefits smaller rural hospitals, including those that are located throughout southern Illinois where many critical access hospitals are often several miles away from the nearest medical facility and serve large areas of the state. The new law requires critical access hospitals to be reimbursed for outpatient Medicaid services based on cost.

Governor Quinn also today toured the McLeansboro Rehabilitation and Health Care Center, a 43-bed skilled nursing home facility in McLeansboro. During his visit, the Governor highlighted a landmark new law signed in July that transforms Illinois' system of long-term care for frail older adults and persons with disabilities.

The new law remakes the system of admission to nursing homes, ensuring that only those in need of 24-hour skilled care are admitted. The law also strengthens the screening process to prevent residents with violent criminal histories from being placed with vulnerable, older adults.

Senate Bill 326, sponsored by Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago), resulted from strong collaboration between state agencies, members of the Illinois General Assembly, advocates, home and community based service providers, residents and the nursing home profession, led by Governor Quinn's Nursing Home Safety Task Force.

As part of his weekend tour of health care facilities in southern Illinois, Governor Quinn will also visit the Phoenix Foundation of Southern Illinois in Carmi later today to make an announcement that will improve access to medical care for residents living in or around White County.


Federal Stimulus Grant Improves Schools' Energy Efficiency with Geothermal Heating and Cooling Systems; Creates 145 Jobs

RANTOUL - August 27, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today announced the completion of new geothermal heating and cooling systems at four Rantoul schools. The project, funded in part through a $480,000 federal stimulus grant, will significantly reduce the district's energy usage and resulted in the hiring of approximately 145 local workers.

"Through the State's Energy Plan, we are investing in projects that will support Illinois' green industry and further our long-term energy goals," said Governor Quinn. "I commend Rantoul City Schools for recognizing the value of conservation measures like this in protecting the environment, saving money and making a more comfortable learning environment for their students."

The federal grant was awarded to Rantoul City School District 137 through the Thermal Efficiency for Public Facilities program, a component of the State's Energy Plan, administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO).

The school district installed geothermal systems to replace outdated heating and air conditioning systems at Eastlawn Primary Grade Level Center, Pleasant Acres Primary Grade Level Center, Broadmeadow Intermediate Grade Level Center and Northview Intermediate Grade Level Center.

The project will result in more than 118,000 therms of natural gas being saved, enough to heat approximately 125 homes for a year.

"Conservation is good for the environment and makes good business sense," said DCEO Director Warren Ribley. "This project is a great example of how organizations of all sizes can incorporate environmental stewardship into their business models while improving their bottom line.".

Illinois received over $100 million in ARRA federal recovery funding to implement the State's Energy Plan, Illinois' most comprehensive effort to date to address the state's energy production needs.


Seminar Promotes 'Green' Campuses, New Campus Sustainability Compact

CHAMPAIGN - August 27, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today spoke at the 2010 Sustainable University Symposium at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). At the symposium, the university became the first to sign the Campus Sustainability Compact with Governor Quinn.

"I'm proud to be here today with so many of Illinois' best and brightest to share in the excitement about the initiatives that are keeping our college campuses 'green'," Quinn said. "Illinois' colleges and universities are the best in the country - they're proving that again today by showcasing their commitment to environmental innovation."

The symposium, hosted by the Illinois Green Governments Coordinating Council, the UIUC's Office of Sustainability and the Institute of Natural Resource Sustainability, enables college and university administrators, professors, students, architects and engineers to discuss exciting innovation in sustainability. Workshops, panel discussions, and speakers addressed topics as diverse as sustainable renovation and construction, environmental education and service learning, energy efficiency and conservation, waste reduction and water conservation.

The primary goal of the symposium is to offer insight to developing sustainability programs at Illinois universities and colleges. Universities shared plans for energy efficiency, partnerships with local businesses and energy technology programs that are proven to be successful.

Also at the symposium, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign joined Governor Quinn to become the first university to sign the new Illinois Campus Sustainability Compact. The compact encourages institutions to make sustainability an element of their campus operations, academic and research programs, community outreach, and student activities.

The compact was created in 2005 and has been signed by 81 institutions statewide. Universities that sign on, pledge to achieve program sustainability goals by the year 2015. The new compact also outlines incremental levels of participation: "bronze," "silver" and "gold." The UIUC signed on at the highest, "gold" level.

Governor Quinn has signed numerous Executive Orders and statutes into law to ensure greater energy efficiency, use of renewable energy, and protection of Illinois' land, air and water resources. For more information please visit Green.Illinois.gov.


Investment Will Spur Economic Growth in Northeast Illinois

CHICAGO - August 27, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today announced that the state is providing a business investment package to Stericycle, Inc., a leading national medical waste disposal service company. The investment package helped Stericycle relocate its call center operations to a larger facility in Northbrook. The move is resulting in 25 new jobs being created and 360 jobs being retained.

"This investment is contributing to a stronger local economy by creating and retaining hundreds of jobs in the Chicago area, and more opportunities for the company to grow in the future," said Governor Quinn. "By investing in companies like Stericycle that are investing in Illinois, we are helping to get our economy back on track and putting more people to work."

Stericycle was established in 1989 and operates in countries throughout the world. It is the leading national medical waste service provider, as well as the leading product recall services company. As a result of increased growth in recent years, the company relocated its sales and marketing operations from Lake Forest to an expanded facility in Northbrook.

"We are pleased that we were able to keep our information technology group and our sales and marketing call centers in Northern Illinois as we have a long history here, dating back to 1989," said Charlie Alutto, President of Stericycle US. "We are committed to investing in the state of Illinois, creating jobs here and we are very grateful to the DCEO, Governor Quinn, Illinois Senator Link and Illinois Representative Sente for their support."

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is administering the nearly $2.4 million business investment package. The package includes Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) corporate tax income credits over the next 10 years based on job creation and Employer Training Investment Program (ETIP) job training funds that will help enhance the skills of its workforce.

"By working with Illinois companies like Stericycle to ensure their facilities and workforce are top of the line, we're giving them the tools they need to increase their competitiveness and keep the Illinois economy moving forward," DCEO Director Warren Ribley said.

Illinois has added more than 43,000 new jobs in 2010.

Stericycle, Inc. is a business service company that specializes in "Protecting People, Reducing Risk."  Stericycle works with companies in a wide array of industry - such as health care, manufacturing and retail - to improve employee and customer safety, ensure regulatory compliance, safely dispose of regulated materials, and manage corporate and personal risk. The company's services include : medical waste disposal, product recall and retrieval service, OSHA compliance training, hazardous and pharmaceutical waste disposal and medical safety product sales.


Grace Hong Duffin Named Acting Secretary of Social Service Agency

CHICAGO - August 26, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today named Grace Hong Duffin as Acting Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS). Hong Duffin has served as the department's Chief of Staff since 2009. She replaces Michelle R. B. Saddler who left the post this week when Governor Quinn named her as his new Chief of Staff.

"Grace Hong Duffin has been a faithful public servant to the people of Illinois, working to help our most vulnerable residents," said Governor Quinn. "As the helm of DHS, she will oversee the many important programs that low-income families throughout the state depend on every day."

Born in South Korea, Hong Duffin immigrated to the United States in 1975. She was raised in the Chicago area and received a Bachelor of Science in human development and social policy from Northwestern University and a Juris Doctorate from the Chicago-Kent College of Law. She also earned her Master of Public Administration degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
"I look forward to working closely with Governor Quinn and his administration to provide effective and efficient services for vulnerable Illinoisans," said Acting Secretary Hong Duffin. "We will continue to look for ways to meet the current budget challenges while maintaining quality human services for those we serve."

Hong Duffin spent eight years working as an assistant state's attorney in the office of Cook County State's Attorney Richard A. Devine. She has also previously served as a Senior Policy Advisor for the Governor's Office and Chief Administrative Law Judge for the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Grace Hou was recently named to the position of Acting Secretary of DHS and declined for personal reasons. Hou will remain Assistant Secretary for Programs at DHS, a position she has held since 2003. Prior to joining DHS, Hou was the Executive Director of the Chinese Mutual Aid Association, a nonprofit social service agency that serves Chinese immigrants and refugees. Hou has a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois and is pursuing a Master of Public Administration from the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Governor Quinn rounded out the DHS leadership team by naming Matthew Hammoudeh as Assistant Secretary for Operations. Hammoudeh previously worked as Acting General Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor at the Illinois Department of Central Management Services where he assisted with DHS and other agencies with implementing accountability and fiscal initiatives that resulted in millions of dollars in savings for the state and significant improvements in agency operations. He has a Master's degree in biology from the University of Illinois and a Juris Doctorate from Chicago-Kent College of Law.


Four Public-Private Technology Projects will Create 600 Jobs

SPRINGFIELD - August 19, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn announced more than $106 million in federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds to improve broadband access across Illinois. Approximately $38 million in Illinois Jobs Now! capital funding and $23 million in matching funds from local partners helped secure the federal awards.

"Building information infrastructure brings jobs and high-speed Internet access to underserved areas," said Governor Quinn. "This significant federal funding is a major win for Illinois and will support economic development across our state."

The four projects will create approximately 600 direct jobs, invest more than $160 million into the Illinois economy, and directly connect more than 1,000 institutions - including schools, hospitals, libraries, police and fire stations - to ultra high-speed information and communication networks.

The nearly $62 million grant to the East Central Region of the Illinois Broadband Opportunity Partnership (IBOP) will expand and improve the Illinois Century Network to provide ultra high-speed access in 55 counties. It will also create more than 160 jobs and connect about 400 community institutions.

Through the IBOP-Southern Region project, Harrisburg-based Clearwave Communications will use a $31.5 million grant to connect 232 community institutions and create approximately 150 jobs.

The Danville-based Cellular Properties, Inc. project is using a $12 million grant/loan award to expand 3G wireless broadband service in 11 rural counties. The effort is estimated to create 267 jobs, and serve more than 7,000 businesses and 700 community institutions.

Grant and loan awards totaling more than $783,000 to Utopian Wireless Corporation will build WiMAX infrastructure in communities in rural McDonough and Clay Counties. This project will help more than 350 businesses and 100 community institutions.

"Too many Illinoisans don't have adequate, affordable access to broadband Internet - an essential economic tool," said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin. "This Recovery Act funding will make a significant investment in the effort to close that digital divide by increasing availability while creating good paying jobs in Illinois."

All of the federal funding was awarded competitively through the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service.

A longtime advocate of broadband-based opportunities in Illinois, Governor Quinn made sure funding for technology projects was included in the Illinois Jobs Now! public works plan. These four awards bring Illinois' total ARRA broadband award total to more than $183 million and represents more than $267 million in new technology infrastructure investment statewide.

For more information, visit Broadband.Illinois.gov.