Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SJR0053
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Full Text of SJR0053  95th General Assembly



SJ0053 LRB095 12133 MJR 36187 r


2     WHEREAS, The percentage of Illinoisans without healthcare
3 coverage has been rising for the last 15 years, growing from
4 9.7% in 1987 to 14.1% in 2002, and rural residents have been
5 facing increasing barriers to health care including provider
6 shortage, transportation, and lack of medical insurance; and
7     WHEREAS, More than 28% of the U.S. population, over 65
8 million people, live in rural areas, yet only 9% of physicians
9 practice in rural areas and Illinois is no exception; and
10     WHEREAS, The shortage of rural health professionals in
11 Illinois is on the rise and is expected to increase sharply in
12 the next 10 years due to the retirement of an aging rural
13 health professions workforce and the absence of adequate
14 numbers of rural-specific students in health professions
15 trainings programs to replace them, and this may increase the
16 disparity in access to basic medical services unless corrective
17 action is taken; and
18     WHEREAS, 80 Illinois counties are medical shortage areas,
19 and if trends continue without intervention, 485 additional
20 physicians will be required by 2010 and there will be a related
21 demand for the allied health professionals necessary to provide
22 comprehensive health services; and



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1     WHEREAS, Health manpower shortages will be magnified as the
2 aging rural population increases the demand for health care
3 services; and
4     WHEREAS, Illinois is facing a 2010 nursing shortage of
5 4,265 nurses, of which nearly half will be required in rural
6 communities to replace retirees and increased system demands
7 for health care; and
8     WHEREAS, The average population-per dentist ratio places
9 rural residents at nearly a 2 to 1 disadvantage for accessing
10 dental care and in 82 of 88 rural counties there is no
11 pediatric dentist participating in the Medicaid program and
12 one-fifth of actively practicing rural dentists graduated from
13 Illinois dental schools that no longer exist; and
14     WHEREAS, The number of retail pharmacies in Illinois has
15 increased, particularly in urban areas, but its has become
16 increasingly difficult to recruit pharmacists for rural
17 hospital work due to staffing shortages and maldistribution;
18 and
19     WHEREAS, Illinois' rural residents face disparities in
20 access to specialty medical services, tele-health, medical
21 transportation, community health care access for basic



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1 services and mental health; and
2     WHEREAS, The late U.S. Senator Paul Simon was a special
3 advocate for the citizens of Illinois and in that interest
4 hosted a rural health care summit under the Paul Simon Public
5 Policy Institute that generated a set of recommendations
6 entitled "Charting a Health Care Agenda", which resulted in the
7 creation by the 94th General Assembly of the 8-member Joint
8 Task Force on Rural Health and Medically Underserved Areas that
9 focused on the reduction of health care disparities in various
10 shortage areas of Illinois; and
11     WHEREAS, The Joint Task Force on Rural Health and Medically
12 Underserved Areas studied the health care disparities of the
13 citizens of Illinois and proposed priority recommendations in
14 its December 2006 report to the Governor and General Assembly
15 to preserve capacity, improve access, and correct workforce
16 shortages; therefore, be it
19 CONCURRING HEREIN, that the recommendations of the Joint Task
20 Force on Rural Health and Medically Underserved Areas be
21 supported and implemented without delay; and be it further
22     RESOLVED, That each house in the General Assembly create a



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1 permanent standing committee charged with monitoring and
2 advocating for the health needs of rural and medically
3 underserved citizens of the State; and be it further
4     RESOLVED, That the General Assembly should consider
5 allocating additional funds to implement the priority
6 recommendations of the task force as a positive investment in
7 the health care infrastructure of Illinois because they address
8 long-standing critical deficits that need immediate attention;
9 and be it further
10     RESOLVED, That immediate implementation of the Task Force
11 priority recommendations would truly honor the legacy of the
12 late Senator Paul Simon in terms of his advocacy and concerns
13 regarding the reduction of health disparities across the State,
14 and that it would be a fitting memorial for the 95th General
15 Assembly to develop and implement in Senator Paul Simon's honor
16 the Task Force recommendations with the appropriations
17 necessary to accomplish the same.