IDPH 125th


In 1942, the Department joined the Emergency Maternity and Infant Care program, a nationwide project financed entirely by the U.S. Children’s Bureau. The program offered free medical care to eligible pregnant women and babies.

The pregnant wives of lower ranking members of the armed forces were eligible to participate in the Emergency Maternity and Infant Care program. The women were able to choose their own physicians, who were paid by the Department in accordance with a specific fee schedule fixed by the U.S. Children’s Bureau. Initially, the program provided a maximum of $35 for medical care and $50 for hospital charges in uncomplicated cases. Pediatric care was provided to babies for one year at a maximum fee of $20.

The project got off to a modest start in November 1942, with only one case being authorized. However, the number jumped to 48 in December. As word got around, more women began participating and the number soared upwards. By June 30, 1943, the program claimed a total of 2,253 participants, of which only 34 were pediatric.

Early fears that the medical community might balk at this program proved to be unfounded. Every county in the state was well represented by participating doctors and women. In fact, the work load built up so quickly the Department had difficulty handling the administrative details.

The project, which ended on May 20, 1949, served 61,168 maternity patients and 12,580 pediatric patients at an overall cost of more than $7 million. The average cost of medical and hospital care was $95.49 for maternity cases and $60.82 for pediatric cases.

... Years Ago in Public Health

A Timeline of the Illinois Department of Public Health

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Illinois Department of Public Health
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Springfield, Illinois 62761
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