Governor Pat Quinn signed four new laws on Tuesday designed to improve the health of residents throughout Illinois. The new laws will: require insurance coverage of diabetes management education programs; improve dental care for children; increase education on the importance of preventative cardiovascular screenings; and allow patients to access a vast online database of information regarding Illinois’ 46,565 physicians and surgeons.
“Preventative care is the key to staying healthy. Cardiovascular checkups, proper diabetes management and good dental health for our kids will save and improve lives by helping people prevent minor health issues from becoming emergencies,” Governor Quinn said. “Another key to good health is a great doctor, which is why we’re ensuring that all of the important information needed to select a physician is online and available 24 hours a day.”
Governor Quinn today signed House Bill 2249, which requires insurance companies to cover education programs to help diabetics maintain their A1C levels within normal ranges. The A1C test measures how well diabetes is managed over time by calculating the percentage of hemoglobin that is coated with sugar. Patients with high A1C levels have poor blood sugar control, which raises the risk for complications. The A1C test has become the industry standard diagnostic test and is considered the most useful diagnostic tool available according to the American Diabetes Association. Sponsored by Rep. JoAnn Osmond (R-Antioch) and Sen. William Haine (D-Alton), this law goes into effect Jan.. 1.
“This new legislation will add educational programs to diabetes self-management training to ensure that patients are receiving the full scope of information they need to manage their disease,” said Rep. Hernandez, one of the bill’s co-sponsors. “Managing the body’s glucose levels, or A1C levels, is one more important way for those living with diabetes to reduce complications.”
The Governor also took action today to improve access to dental care for low-income children. Effective immediately, Senate Bill 1948 requires the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) to work with the dental community to develop and promote “dental homes” for children covered under CHIP, All Kids and Medicaid programs. Under the dental home concept, dentists would collaborate to deliver comprehensive, coordinated and family-centered preventive and restorative oral health care services. The new law builds on a national campaign by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry to address the dental needs of children in Head Start programs by creating partnerships with dentists and relevant organizations. The law was sponsored by Sen. William Delgado (D-Chicago) and Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez (D-Cicero).