Daily Briefing Jan. 10

Pritzker Names HFS Director; Legislative Leaders Announced
IL House Dems Score Major Congressional Committee Slots
IL Likely to Lose Congressional Seat After 2020 Census
VA Issues CCN Contracts to Improve Healthcare Access
Register for Emergency Communication Workshop

Pritzker Names HFS Director; Legislative Leaders Announced

Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker this afternoon announced his latest series of appointments, including Theresa Eagleson as director of the Dept. of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS).

Eagleson currently serves as the executive director of the Office of Medicaid Innovation at the University of Illinois system, joining in 2014 after spending over a decade in management at HFS. She served as the state Medicaid director, deputy administrator of the Division of Medical Programs, and senior adviser to the administrator during her 15-year tenure. Prior to that, Eagleson served two Republican governors’ administrations, leading the Medical & Child Welfare Division of the governor’s budget office and serving as Gov. Edgar’s policy adviser for health and human services and as senior budget analyst. Eagleson’s appointment is pending confirmation by the state Senate.

Pritzker also announced several other appointments:

  • Emily Bittner, Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications in the Office of the Governor;
  • Jordan Abudayyeh, Press Secretary in the Office of the Governor;
  • Tiffany Newbern-Johnson, Deputy Chief of Staff for Legislative Affairs in the Office of the Governor;
  • Alicia Tate-Nadeau, Director of Homeland Security and the Emergency Management Agency;
  • Janel L. Forde, Director of the Dept. of Central Management Services;
  • Heidi Mueller will continue to serve as Director of the Dept. of Juvenile Justice; and
  • Matt Perez will continue to serve as State Fire Marshal

Meanwhile, House Speaker Michael Madigan today announced that he has appointed Rep. Greg Harris (D-13, Chicago) as House Majority Leader. Madigan noted that Harris “has spearheaded complicated Medicaid reforms with an eye toward compassion and expanded access to health care; and his leadership was most critical during the budget crisis, when Representative Harris was instrumental in bringing together Democrats and Republicans to enact a bipartisan budget that protects lifesaving services like breast cancer screenings, child care, health care for the elderly and much more.” Among his many roles, Harris is currently co-chair of the Legislative Hospital Transformation Review Committee and a key member of the Legislative Medicaid Work Group.

In the Senate, Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-4, Westchester) has been named Majority Leader, after previously serving as Assistant Majority Leader.  She succeeds Sen. James Clayborne Jr., who retired.           

IL House Dems Score Major Congressional Committee Slots

Three Democratic members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation have scored assignments to major committees that are among the most sought after by members of Congress.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday announced a series of committee assignments, including:

  • Cheri Bustos (17th District), Appropriations Committee;
  • Robin Kelly (2nd District), Energy and Commerce Committee (which has jurisdiction over many critical health areas); and
  • Brad Schneider (10th District), Ways and Means Committee

Bustos is also chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

IL Likely to Lose Congressional Seat After 2020 Census

With Illinois continuing to lose residents to other states, a new projection indicates that the state will likely lose at least one Congressional seat, from 18 to 17, after the 2020 census. That’s according to Election Data Services, based on 2018 population estimates. EDS is a political consulting firm specializing in redistricting, election administration, and the analysis and presentation of census and political data.

The official reapportionment will occur in 2021 after Census numbers are finalized.

Illinois had one of the largest population declines in the nation in 2018. Census numbers released last month show 114,154 people moved out of Illinois in the 12 months ending in July, with the state’s total population declining by 45,116 from the previous year. This marked the fifth consecutive year of total population loss for the state.

VA Issues CCN Contracts to Improve Healthcare Access

The U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently awarded contracts to manage provider networks for Regions 1, 2 and 3 of VA’s new Community Care Network (CCN). The VA links with CCN providers to ensure the VA provides the right care at the right time to veterans. Illinois is one of 13 states in Region 2 of the CCN. Optum Public Sector Solutions will manage all three regions.

Register for Emergency Communication Workshop

Registration is now open for a one-day Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication (CERC) workshop on Thursday, Feb. 14 at Northern Illinois University's Naperville Center. Experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will assist public information officers, hospital liaisons, emergency responders, and leaders of healthcare organizations in providing the proper communications during and after an emergency.

The workshop will draw on lessons learned during past public health emergencies and research in public health, psychology and emergency risk communication. Leading the program will be:

  • Lisa Briseño, MS, health communications specialist in the CDC's Division of Emergency Operations. As an emergency risk communications professional, teacher and environmental scientist, Briseño advocates for individuals facing disproportionate barriers in health, safety and advancement.
  • Robert J. Alvey, CPM, deputy chief of the CDC's Emergency Risk Communications Branch and its Division of Emergency Operations, Center for Preparedness and Response. In this leadership role, Alvey has led statewide and national communication teams for viruses, hurricanes and other disasters.

At the end of this program, participants will be able to:

  • Explain CERC principles;
  • Describe the psychology of a crisis and the type of messages each audience needs;
  • Explain how to tailor messages;
  • Define core concepts of crisis communication planning;
  • Explain the roles of the media and the spokesperson;
  • Describe the benefits of social media and mobile media devices, such as cell phones and tablets;
  • Identify ways to develop relationships with stakeholders and partners; and
  • Identify key communication strategies in engaging the community during and after a public health emergency.

Registration is $75 per person for staff from IHA-member hospitals and health systems; $125 per person for non-members. This fee includes continental breakfast, lunch, breaks and program material. Continuing education credits are available from the American College of Healthcare Executives. IHA thanks sponsors Alertus Technologies and Singlewire Software. Register today.