March 1, 1995
EDGAR PROPOSES IMPROVED SERVICES FOR WOMEN AND CHILDREN
SPRINGFIELD, IL-- Gov. Jim Edgar today proposed a $470 million fiscal year 1996 budget for the Illinois Department of Public Health that provides improved services for women and children, and maintains other priority programs at current levels.
The budget request recommends $107.7 million in General Revenue Funds, a 2.9 percent increase from current fiscal year levels. Recommended funding from all sources for new appropriations is up 4 percent.
"By expanding childhood immunization services, removing obstacles to participation in other state programs and enhancing the quality of services, we can better provide for many of our most vulnerable and neediest citizens," the Governor said.
In addition to $13 million in federally supplied vaccine, the Governor proposed spending $3.7 million in state funds, a 3 percent increase, to purchase and deliver vaccine to prevent nine childhood diseases as part of the Illinois Vaccines for Children Plus (Illinois VFC Plus) program that began Oct. 1, 1994.
Illinois' program offers the $270 full series of vaccines free of charge to children through 18 years of age who are enrolled in Medicaid, who do not have health insurance or who have insurance that does not cover immunizations. Through Illinois VFC Plus, 2.5 million doses of vaccine are expected to be administered in fiscal 1996.
"Although more than 96 percent of Illinois children are fully vaccinated by the time they enter school, only half of infants and children 2 years of age and younger receive recommended vaccinations on time," the Governor said. "Our preschool-age children -- when not vaccinated -- are our state's most vulnerable to contracting these serious, yet preventable, diseases. With this new program, we can offer our youngest children a life free from the effects of these debilitating diseases."
In the area of infant mortality, $9.1 million in federal funds is appropriated for the Healthy Start program, which targets six areas in the city of Chicago that have high infant mortality rates. Fiscal 1996 will be the fourth year of a five-year effort to reduce infant mortality in these areas by 50 percent.
The budget proposal also includes $10.8 million for family case management and related services for 66,600 medically indigent clients statewide as part of Healthy Moms/Healthy Kids. The program assigns a case manager to low-income families with pregnant women and children under 3 years of age to assure they receive regular medical care and related services.
Funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is slated to increase 6.2 percent to $212 million, allowing the department to increase caseload by 20,000 participants to a total of 270,000 a month.
The WIC budget includes an increase of $2.3 million to open five new food centers in Chicago, up from the 10 expected to be in operation by the end of this fiscal year, to combat fraud and abuse in the WIC system and provide for more efficient and safe delivery of food to WIC clients.
WIC clients using the food centers receive a special orange colored food instrument that is only valid at the food centers. Since the food instruments can only be exchanged for food, the food centers address the growing problem in Chicago of these food instruments being exchanged for cash and drugs.
"Through the use of these food centers, we are not only guaranteeing a convenient, safe, clean environment for WIC clients to pick up their food, but also intensifying the state's enforcement efforts to ensure WIC benefits go to the women and children in need," the Governor said.
WIC provides supplemental foods, plus health care referrals and nutrition education, at no cost to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding women, infants and children up to 5 years of age who are found to be at nutritional risk.
Other budget highlights include the following:
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Questions or Comments