Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SB1911
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Full Text of SB1911  98th General Assembly




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1    AN ACT concerning State government.
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4    Section 5. The Department of Public Health Powers and
5Duties Law of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois is
6amended by adding Section 2310-665 as follows:
7    (20 ILCS 2310/2310-665 new)
8    Sec. 2310-665. Hepatitis C Task Force.
9    (a) The General Assembly finds and declares the following:
10        (1) Viral hepatitis is a contagious and
11    life-threatening disease that has a substantial and
12    increasing effect upon the lifespans and quality of life of
13    at least 5,000,000 persons living in the United States and
14    as many as 180,000,000 worldwide. According to the U.S.
15    Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the chronic
16    form of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and hepatitis B virus
17    (HBV) account for the vast majority of hepatitis-related
18    mortalities in the U.S., yet as many as 65% to 75% of
19    infected Americans remain unaware that they are infected
20    with the virus, prompting the U.S. Centers for Disease
21    Control and Prevention (CDC) to label these viruses as the
22    silent epidemic. HCV and HBV are major public health
23    problems that cause chronic liver diseases, such as



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1    cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer. The 5-year
2    survival rate for primary liver cancer is less than 5%.
3    These viruses are also the leading cause of liver
4    transplantation in the United States. While there is a
5    vaccine for HBV, no vaccine exists for HCV. However, there
6    are anti-viral treatments for HCV that can improve the
7    prognosis or actually clear the virus from the patient's
8    system. Unfortunately, the vast majority of infected
9    patients remain unaware that they have the virus since
10    there are generally no symptoms. Therefore, there is a dire
11    need to aid the public in identifying certain risk factors
12    that would warrant testing for these viruses. Millions of
13    infected patients remain undiagnosed and continue to be at
14    elevated risks for developing more serious complications.
15    More needs to be done to educate the public about this
16    disease and the risk factors that warrant testing. In some
17    cases, infected patients play an unknowing role in further
18    spreading this infectious disease.
19        (2) The existence of HCV was definitively published and
20    discovered by medical researchers in 1989. Prior to this
21    date, HCV is believed to have spread unchecked. The
22    American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases
23    (AASLD) recommends that primary care physicians screen all
24    patients for a history of any viral hepatitis risk factor
25    and test those individuals with at least one identifiable
26    risk factor for the virus. Some of the most common risk



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1    factors have been identified by AASLD, HHS, and the U.S.
2    Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as other public
3    health and medical research organizations, and include the
4    following:
5            (A) anyone who has received a blood transfusion
6        prior to 1992;
7            (B) anyone who is a Vietnam-era veteran;
8            (C) anyone who has abnormal liver function tests;
9            (D) anyone infected with the HIV virus;
10            (E) anyone who has used a needle to inject drugs;
11            (F) any health care, emergency medical, or public
12        safety worker who has been stuck by a needle or exposed
13        to any mucosal fluids of an HCV-infected person; and
14            (G) any children born to HCV-infected mothers.
15        A 1994 study determined that Caucasian Americans
16    statistically accounted for the most number of infected
17    persons in the United States, while the highest incidence
18    rates were among African and Hispanic Americans.
19        (3) In January of 2010, the Institute of Medicine
20    (IOM), commissioned by the CDC, issued a comprehensive
21    report entitled Hepatitis and Liver Cancer: A National
22    Strategy for Prevention and Control of Hepatitis B and C.
23    The key findings and recommendations from the IOM's report
24    are (A) there is a lack of knowledge and awareness about
25    chronic viral hepatitis on the part of health care and
26    social service providers, (B) there is a lack of knowledge



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1    and awareness about chronic viral hepatitis among at-risk
2    populations, members of the public, and policy makers, and
3    (C) there is insufficient understanding about the extent
4    and seriousness of the public health problem, so inadequate
5    public resources are being allocated to prevention,
6    control, and surveillance programs.
7        (4) In this same 2010 IOM report, researchers compared
8    the prevalence and incidences of HCV, HBV, and HIV and
9    found that, although there are only 1,100,000 HIV/AIDS
10    infected persons in the United States and over 4,000,000
11    Americans infected with viral hepatitis, the percentage of
12    those with HIV that are unaware they have HIV is only 21%
13    as opposed to approximately 70% of those with viral
14    hepatitis being unaware that they have viral hepatitis. It
15    appears that public awareness of risk factors associated
16    with each of these diseases could be a major factor in the
17    alarming disparity between the percentage of the
18    population that is infected with one of these blood
19    viruses, but unaware that they are infected.
20        (5) In light of the widely varied nature of the risk
21    factors mentioned in this subsection (a), the previous
22    findings by the Institute of Medicine, and the clear
23    evidence of the disproportional public awareness between
24    HIV and viral hepatitis, it is clearly in the public
25    interest for this State to establish a task force to gather
26    testimony and develop an action plan to (A) increase public



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1    awareness of the risk factors for these viruses, (B)
2    improve access to screening for these viruses, and (C)
3    provide those infected with information about the
4    prognosis, treatment options, and elevated risk of
5    developing cirrhosis and liver cancer. There is clear and
6    increasing evidence that many adults in Illinois and in the
7    United States have at least one of the risk factors
8    mentioned in this subsection (a).
9        (6) The General Assembly also finds that it is in the
10    public interest to bring communities of Illinois-based
11    veterans of American military service into familiarity
12    with the issues created by this disease, because many
13    veterans, especially Vietnam-era veterans, have at least
14    one of the previously enumerated risk factors and are
15    especially prone to being affected by this disease; and
16    because veterans of American military service should enjoy
17    in all cases, and do enjoy in most cases, adequate access
18    to health care services that include medical management and
19    care for preexisting and long-term medical conditions,
20    such as infection with the hepatitis virus.
21    (b) There is established the Hepatitis C Task Force within
22the Department of Public Health. The purpose of the Task Force
23shall be to:
24        (1) develop strategies to identify and address the
25    unmet needs of persons with hepatitis C in order to enhance
26    the quality of life of persons with hepatitis C by



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1    maximizing productivity and independence and addressing
2    emotional, social, financial, and vocational challenges of
3    persons with hepatitis C;
4        (2) develop strategies to provide persons with
5    hepatitis C greater access to various treatments and other
6    therapeutic options that may be available; and
7        (3) develop strategies to improve hepatitis C
8    education and awareness.
9    (c) The Task Force shall consist of 17 members as follows:
10        (1) the Director of Public Health, the Director of
11    Veterans' Affairs, and the Director of Human Services, or
12    their designees, who shall serve ex officio;
13        (2) ten public members who shall be appointed by the
14    Director of Public Health from the medical, patient, and
15    service provider communities, including, but not limited
16    to, HCV Support, Inc.; and
17        (3) four members of the General Assembly, appointed one
18    each by the President of the Senate, the Minority Leader of
19    the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives,
20    and the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives.
21    Vacancies in the membership of the Task Force shall be
22filled in the same manner provided for in the original
24    (d) The Task Force shall organize within 120 days following
25the appointment of a majority of its members and shall select a
26chairperson and vice-chairperson from among the members. The



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1chairperson shall appoint a secretary, who need not be a member
2of the Task Force.
3    (e) The public members shall serve without compensation and
4shall not be reimbursed for necessary expenses incurred in the
5performance of their duties, unless funds become available to
6the Task Force.
7    (f) The Task Force shall be entitled to call to its
8assistance and avail itself of the services of the employees of
9any State, county, or municipal department, board, bureau,
10commission, or agency as it may require and as may be available
11to it for its purposes.
12    (g) The Task Force may meet and hold hearings as it deems
14    (h) The Department of Public Health shall provide staff
15support to the Task Force.
16    (i) The Task Force shall report its findings and
17recommendations to the Governor and to the General Assembly,
18along with any legislative bills that it desires to recommend
19for adoption by the General Assembly, no later than December
2031, 2015.
21    (j) The Task Force is abolished and this Section is
22repealed on January 1, 2016.
23    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
24becoming law.