February 17, 1999
GOVENOR'S BUDGET BOOSTS FUNDING FOR
HOSPITAL AND NURSING HOME INSPECTIONS
SPRINGFIELD, IL Gov. George H. Ryan today proposed a Fiscal Year 2000 budget of $224 million for the Illinois Department of Public Health that includes additional funds to improve state regulation of the hospital and long term care industries.
"This new funding represents my administration's commitment to ensuring a timely response to complaints by the public about the care they received in hospitals and nursing homes," Ryan said. "We must, and will, do a better job of making sure our citizens receive the best possible care from the health care industry."
The department's budget request recommends $105.6 million in general revenue funds, a 5.3 percent increase from current fiscal year levels.
Included in the Governor's plan is an increase of $1.2 million to hire 15 new hospital inspectors, nearly double the current number in what now is a federally-funded program, and ten more surveyors for the long-term care program.
The expanded hospital inspection program will permit the department to respond to the approximate 500 complaints received annually and complete inspections of the state's 221 hospitals every year. Currently, the department only undertakes investigations of hospital complaints approved and funded by the federal government and conducts licensure surveys once every 10 years. Hospitals also are inspected by the private Joint Committee on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations every three years.
The ten new long-term care staff would be added to the 200 surveyors now inspecting the state's 1,300 licensed nursing homes. They would allow the department to address an increase in nursing home complaints and annual inspections, which grew from 11,783 in 1997 to nearly 14,000 in 1998.
"Staffing and funding have not kept up with the growing need for surveillance of the state's long-term care and hospital industries," said Dr. John R. Lumpkin, Director of Public Health. "This additional funding will allow the department to make sure that the high-level of service the public expects from its health care facilities is maintained."
The Governor also called on the General Assembly to provide $2.7 million in general revenue spending for grants to local health departments and other providers for women's health education, promotion and disease prevention programs, an increase of $1 million over the current fiscal year spending plan. The funding would expand the grant activities begun in 1998 by the department's Office of Women's Health.
The budget proposal recommends for an increase of $1 million to continue development of a childhood immunization tracking system, called TOTS (Tracking Our Toddlers Shots), that is expected to be operational this fall and to provide outreach grants to local health departments to increase immunizations for kids two years of age and younger.
About $7.5 million in federal money has been spent the past five years to develop the TOTS program, which will allow the department and health care providers in the state to keep track of immunization records, whether a child visits a public clinic or private doctor. About 78 percent of the state's children 2 years of age and younger are fully immunized and the goal is to reach 90 percent by the year 2000.
The budget proposal also includes $50,000 each for new local health departments in Scott and Moultrie counties that are to be certified in Fiscal Year 2000.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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