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.