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Health & Medicine Stands with Dreamers

Sep 05, 2017

Health & Medicine stands with Illinois' over 40,000 Dreamers and the thousands more across the country.

The young people affected by the decision of this Administration to end DACA are our neighbors, our friends, and our co-workers including the many young doctors, nurses, and health professionals who are Dreamers and now, after years of hard work, could lose everything. These young people contribute to the vibrancy of their neighborhoods and strengthen the fabric and health of our communities.

The decision to end DACA hurts Illinois families, communities, and our economy. We all must stand up for Dreamers. Tell Congress and the administration to defend the DREAM Act. It’s the right thing to do.

Health & Medicine, Public Health Woke Coalition Testify Before CCCHHS Board on Protecting Immigrant Health

Sep 01, 2017

On September 1, 2017 Health & Medicine's Director of Health Equity Wesley Epplin and Board Member Linda Murray, MD, MPH testified at the Cook County Health and Hospitals Systems (CCHHS) Board meeting on ensuring that the system’s hospitals and clinics are welcoming and affirming spaces for all patients, especially immigrants. Both Epplin and Murray reiterated the policy recommendations of the Public Health Woke Coaltion, of which Health & Medicine is a lead member, which outline steps CCHHS should take to ensure their facilities are truly safe for all patients:

1. Place clear signage. Place abundant and clear signage in multiple languages assuring a welcoming institution.
2. Provide staff training. Staff training and resources addressing needs of marginalized patients and families.
3. Implement a legal referrals system. Establish referral systems for legal services, know-your-rights information, and other necessary resources.
4. Strengthen internal policies and procedures. Clarify, revise, and strengthen policies & procedures that focus on protecting immigrant & marginalized patients.
5. Monitor community stress. Identify and monitor indicators and neighborhood stress in immigrant & marginalized communities.
6. Ensure best practices for patients facing increased stress and trauma. Design & implement best practices for clinical and public health providers to deliver appropriate care.

To learn more, click here to read Epplin's testimony and click here to review Murray's statement.

Health & Medicine Testifies in Support of Fully Funded Public Hospital and Health System

Aug 31, 2017

On Tuesday, August 29th, Health & Medicine Executive Director Margie Schaps testified before the Cook County Health and Hospitals System with regards to their proposed 2018 budget.

Good evening, and thank you for the opportunity to provide testimony on the proposed 2018 health system budget.  I’m Margie Schaps, the Executive Director of the Health and Medicine Policy Research Group, a policy, research and advocacy organization founded by Quentin Young in 1981 to create policies and systems that support the public’s health.

Between Quentin and myself, I daresay it’s likely that not a year has gone by since 1981 that we haven’t testified on the health system budget and the strategic direction of the system.

Health and Medicine has been steadfast in our commitment to a strong, vibrant and fully funded public hospital and health system that serves all in need in our County.

I want to applaud the system for the many  accomplishments over the last year, increasing mental health and substance use services, movement toward integration of primary care and behavioral health, a more extensive care coordination program including the deployment of community health workers, being awarded one of the state’s new MCO contracts, expanding oral health services, beginning to address social determinants of health through the new transportation program, housing initiatives and farmers markets, and aggressively beginning to pursue being a welcoming institution for all.

As threats at the federal level mount to unravel the ACA, undermine basic civil liberties and destroy funding and services for all, but particularly the most marginalized, this health system bears and extra burden to lift up the community and support equity in whatever ways it can.

With that in mind, I urge the health system to:

  • Work with the county commissioners, the President of the county board and the Sheriff’s office to move the newly created mental health positions at the County Jail under the Health system budget, rather than the public safety budget.  This will ensure greater coordination and continuity for the patients
  • Use whatever leverage is possible to demand that other local hospitals do not “dump” high need, uninsured patients into the county system, but rather share the burden of taking care of high need patients
  • Ensure that the new plans for training staff and implementing policies to become a welcoming institution for all are adequately and fully implemented, and continuously monitored for implementation and outcomes.
  • Continue to build upon the already begun programs addressing social determinants of health by coordinating with advocacy and policy and service organizations in a transparent way to address root causes of ill health—one opportunity for collaboration right now would be advocacy for safe zones for opiod and other drug users.  Safe zones exist in other cities and countries and have shown dramatic reductions in drug use among people served in these setting.
  • Advocate for a fully funded health system that supports public health and population health, and expanded community based services, in particular full dental care at all CCHHS facilities
  • And finally, commit to becoming a trauma informed institution and begin the process of training staff to become trauma informed providers.  This will reap enormous benefits for patients and staff and has been shown repeatedly to reduce health care costs.

Thank you very much for the opportunity to address this body.  Health and Medicine stands ready, as always, to partner with CCHHS in the difficult tasks that will advance health equity

Health & Medicine unites with advocates, aging community to protect services for Illinois’ most vulnerable population

Aug 24, 2017

The following is a statement on behalf of Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter, Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans, Health & Medicine Policy Research Group, Jane Addams Senior Caucus, Caring Across Generations, and SEIU Healthcare Illinois in response to the withdrawal of rules that would have forced 36,000 vulnerable Illinois seniors out of the Community Care Program and into the unproven and untested Community Reinvestment Program:

“Our coalition welcomes news that the Department on Aging will be withdrawing their prior Community Reinvestment Program (CRP) rules from the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR), and we are ready to continue the work of building a stronger Community Care Program that will meet the needs of future aging Illinoisans while protecting their health, safety, and dignity.

“Our coalition has opposed the CRP rules since they first appeared in the Governor’s FY17 budget proposal and since then they have been rejected by advocates, seniors who stood to be impacted, caregivers, senior service providers, and by the General Assembly in their recent bipartisan budget vote. We want to thank state lawmakers who stood up for Illinois seniors throughout this process. We are especially grateful for the leadership of State Senator Dan Biss and State Representatives Greg Harris and Anna Moeller.

“As we have stated from day one, we are ready and willing to work with IDOA, the Rauner administration, and the new Community Care Program Services Task Force to strengthen the successful Community Care Program to utilize each taxpayer dollar as efficiently as possible while simultaneously enabling Illinoisans to age in our communities with the services and support they need.”