February 18, 1998
GOVERNOR'S BUDGET INCLUDES INCREASE
TO ADDRESS WOMEN'S HEALTH ISSUES
SPRINGFIELD, ILL. Gov. Jim Edgar today recommended a Fiscal Year 1999 budget totaling $197.2 million for the Illinois Department of Public Health that includes funds to promote women's health issues and operate the new Office of Women's Health.
"The Women's Health Initiative puts Illinois at the forefront in addressing the complex health needs critical to women at mid-life," the Governor said. "We will put the resources in place to educate women on ways to improve their health and well-being and be there to provide assistance in their time of need."
The department's budget request recommends $96.4 million in general revenue funds, a 1 percent increase from current fiscal year levels.
Last May, at the suggestion of First Lady Brenda Edgar, the Governor created the Office of Women's Health in the department, one of just five such offices in the nation. The FY1999 budget includes $1 million in new general revenue spending for the office to support grants for education, promotion and prevention of diseases, to improve access to resources and services and to operate a toll-free helpline to provide women with answers to health questions and referrals to community-based resources.
"Many disorders, such as breast cancer and osteoporosis, strike women in epidemic proportions, while pregnancy and menopause present unique health care needs," said Mrs. Edgar. "We intend to increase awareness for women reaching mid-life about the many changes they are facing some physical, some psychological and encourage them to become their own best health care advocates."
The budget proposal also provides an increase of $1.3 million in grants to local health departments, including a more than 100 percent jump in the minimum funding level for rural health departments.
The 10 smallest health departments will see funding go from the current $24,000 minimum to $50,000 a year to help support monitoring, preventing and control of a wide variety of infectious diseases and environmental issues. Another 62 local health departments will receive funding increases.
"Local health departments are where the health needs of the communities are met," said Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director. "This additional money will allow us to address inequities in the funding allocations and to give these critical partners of the public health system funds to better protect Illinois communities from disease and illness."
A total of $36.2 million in state and federal appropriations is earmarked for AIDS education, prevention and treatment programs, up from $33.0 million budgeted for fiscal 1998. Nearly half of the HIV/AIDS money would be to fund the state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program, which provides 64 drugs at no cost to eligible persons.
"Illinois' program is one of the most comprehensive in the nation," Dr. Lumpkin said. "Through new drug combinations covered by the program, those living with HIV are experiencing remarkably improved health and hope for the future."
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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