IHA Daily Briefing: June 23

Thursday, June 23, 2022
Laws Expand Protections for Sexual Assault Survivors
IHA Sponsors HNI Panel on Achieving Health Equity
FDA Announces Ban on JUUL E-Cigarettes
Illinois COVID-19 Update
Briefly Noted

Laws Expand Protections for Sexual Assault Survivors
Gov. JB Pritzker recently signed two bills expanding protections for sexual assault survivors. Public Act 102-1096/House Bill 5441 amends the Illinois Criminal Code to specify that someone is unable to give consent when intoxicated, even when the accused assaulter didn’t provide the substance that intoxicated them. Public Act 102-1097/Senate Bill 3023 expands where survivors can access treatment and for how long, as well as requires Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) to provide medical forensic services by trained professionals.

Senate Bill 3023 extends reimbursable follow-up care from 90 days to 180 days and also allows a survivor who is not the subscriber or primary policyholder of their insurance policy to opt out of billing their private insurance, and instead bill to the Illinois Dept. of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) Sexual Assault Emergency Treatment Program for reimbursement.

Additionally, it makes changes to the Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Services Implementation Task Force, including the addition of one member representing FQHCs. It also delays the Task Force report to the General Assembly to Jan. 1, 2024, which now includes the impact of FQHCs providing services to survivors, and sunsets the Task Force on Jan. 1, 2025.

More information and resources related sexual assault policy and issue can be found by clicking here.

IHA Sponsors HNI Panel on Achieving Health Equity
State and local healthcare leaders came together yesterday at MATTER in Chicago for an open dialogue about current barriers to achieving health equity and sustainable actions the healthcare sector and policymakers can take to facilitate more equitable healthcare in Illinois communities.

IHA was proud to sponsor Health News Illinois’ panel entitled “Closing the Health Equity Gap,” featuring RUSH University Medical Center President and CEO Dr. Omar Lateef; West Side United Executive Director Ayesha Jaco; Cook County Health’s Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer Shannon Andrews; Illinois Dept. of Healthcare and Family Services’ Director Theresa Eagleson; and Illinois Rep. LaToya Greenwood. These healthcare and policy experts had a candid conversation about the health equity gap in Illinois.

Dr. Omar Lateef shared his perspective on taking the health equity lessons learned during COVID-19 and translating them into future action.

“We’ve had a mission that said these inequities are real, and then we took that to light during the pandemic to see if we could change it, and the impact was profound,” he said. “The fact that lives were saved was symbolic that it’s a solvable problem. Now the issue shifts to all of us to say, is it scalable.”

Shannon Andrews emphasized that partnership between healthcare systems and providers, the communities they serve, and policymakers is key to effectuating positive change in healthcare equity.

“The conversation has to continue. We have the data, we have the metrics, but now it’s about the ‘do,’” she said. “The ‘do’ is really important. You really have to figure out how, as a community, as a village, you hear all of the voices. As long as we are able to build on partnerships and grow that aspect, that will be a huge part of the infrastructure to take to the next level.”

In discussing challenges the healthcare sector faces when addressing health equity, Dr. Lateef agreed that figuring out the “do” is needed, and ensuring it is sustainable, is a critical step.

“We recognize what the problems are. The solutions are the obstruction because there has to be resources poured into creating solutions that are sustainable and our society has not accepted that,” said Dr. Lateef. “We have to get honest about what the problems are and put our actions behind that honesty—accepting there is a problem as a society and figuring out how to solve it.”

Lisa Harries, IHA Assistant Vice President of Health Equity and Policy, reminded the audience about IHA’s recent Health Equity Action Day content and resources, which are available on IHA’s website. Included on the website are Heather McGhee’s keynote speech and additional Q&A dialogue on health equity, which was not included in the original program. Please note that Heather McGhee’s content is only available until July 13, 2022. We encourage everyone to listen and hear the policy experts’ take on paths to achieving health equity.

In addition, please reference IHA’s Health Disparities Resource Hub for additional tools and resources.

FDA Announces Ban on JUUL E-Cigarettes
In an effort to discourage vaping among young people, today the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it had issued marketing denial orders (MDOs) on all JUUL e-cigarette products currently marketed in the U.S. JUUL must now stop the sale and distribution of these products.

According to the FDA, the MDOs only apply to commercial distribution, importation and retail sales. Individual consumer possession or use is not restricted, and the FDA emphasized it “cannot and will not enforce against individual consumer possession or use of JUUL products or any other tobacco products.”

FDA Commission Dr. Robert M. Califf said, “Today’s action is further progress on the FDA’s commitment to ensuring that all e-cigarette and electronic nicotine delivery system products currently being marketed to consumers meet our public health standards.”

“The agency has dedicated significant resources to review products from the companies that account for most of the U.S. market,” Dr. Califf added. “We recognize these make up a significant part of the available products and many have played a disproportionate role in the rise in youth vaping.”

Illinois COVID-19 Update
The Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) today reported, 3,493 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases and 16 COVID-19 deaths.

Most recent IDPH hospitalization data show 1,129 individuals in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 122 patients were in the ICU and 34 patients were on ventilators.

The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily in Illinois is 8,818 doses. IDPH reported that 78% of Illinoisans (18 years and older) have been fully vaccinated, while 86.2% have received at least one vaccination dose. For the Illinois population 12 years and older, 76.8% have been fully vaccinated, while 84.9% have received at least one vaccination dose. For the Illinois population 5 years and older, 73.3% have been fully vaccinated and 81.1% have received at least one dose.

Briefly Noted
Yesterday, U.S. House lawmakers passed bipartisan legislation address mental health and substance abuse. The Restoring Hope for Mental and Well-Being Act, which passed the House by a vote of 402-20, would strengthen access to crisis care, reauthorize mental health grant funding for children and adults, and advance research on the mental health and developmental effects of smartphones and social media use among adolescents.

Today, the Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) issued a media statement to remind the public that positive batches of West Nile Virus have been reported in seven Illinois counties. The reminder accompanies a national effort to highlight the importance of taking protective action to “Fight the Bite” during National Mosquito Control Awareness Week.