March 6, 1996
GOVERNOR STREAMLINES MEDICAL CARE FOR NEEDY PREGNANT WOMEN AND INFANTS; BOOSTS HEALTH INITIATIVE FOR RURAL AREAS
SPRINGFIELD, IL -- Gov. Jim Edgar today proposed a $502 million fiscal year 1997 budget for the Illinois Department of Public Health that streamlines delivery of medical care for needy pregnant women and infants and boosts spending for health care in rural areas.
The budget request recommends $145.3 million in general revenue funds, a 6.6 percent increase from current fiscal year levels.
Included in the budget plan is the transfer of family case management services from the Illinois Department of Public Aid to the Department of Public Health. Beginning with the new fiscal year, Public Health will be responsible for the $41 million program, designed to improve health care for more than 160,000 families with a pregnant woman or infant under 1 year of age.
"By consolidating this program into a single agency, we can better serve clients, physicians and other health care providers," the Governor said. "In addition, a computerized intake and tracking system called Cornerstone will help the agency more efficiently serve clients."
Cornerstone, a statewide management information network for Medicaid and medically indigent clients, is currently being brought on-line and will be completely in place by the end of fiscal 1997. Clients served by Cornerstone will include those who earn up to 185 percent of the federal poverty level and who are in need of assistance with prenatal care, immunizations, and other maternal and child health services, and WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children).
Cornerstone allows information to be shared between various programs and promotes continuity of care, eliminates multiple intake visits and consolidates data collection, entry and reporting. Currently, it is operational at 63 Public Health-funded community-based and local health department sites. The number of sites will increase to 120 by June 30 and to 320 by the end of fiscal 1997. The budget includes $3.6 million to bring the additional Cornerstone sites on-line.
Through family case management, a case manager is assigned to Medicaid and medically indigent families with pregnant women and children to ensure they receive regular medical care and related services. The case manager helps families select a doctor, make appointments and arrange for transportation.
During the first two years of family case management, Public Aid provided the funding for Medicaid-eligible clients and coordinated the program in Chicago. Meanwhile, Public Health funded services to the medically indigent and coordinated the program in downstate counties. During fiscal year 1997, $30.6 million will be transferred from Public Aid to Public Health to cover the cost of services for Medicaid-eligible families statewide.
In the area of rural health, the Governor recommended $1.6 million in general revenue funds, an increase of $500,000, for grants to hospitals, community-based organizations and community health clinics to expand access to primary care medical services to those in underserved areas.
"The availability of quality primary health care in rural areas is of critical importance and is one of the emerging health care issues of the decade," the Governor said. "The increased funds I have requested will help many rural communities provide quality medical care for their citizens. "Grants can be used to open new medical clinics or to expand clinics in areas that have a shortage of doctors. Funds also may be used to increase medical staff in medically underserved areas, to provide tuition for those training to become allied health professionals or to improve emergency medical services.
Other budget highlights include --
of Public Health
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