Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of Public Act 098-0493
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Public Act 098-0493





Public Act 098-0493
SB1911 EnrolledLRB098 09303 RPM 39443 b

    AN ACT concerning State government.
    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:
    Section 5. The Department of Public Health Powers and
Duties Law of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois is
amended by adding Section 2310-665 as follows:
    (20 ILCS 2310/2310-665 new)
    Sec. 2310-665. Hepatitis C Task Force.
    (a) The General Assembly finds and declares the following:
        (1) Viral hepatitis is a contagious and
    life-threatening disease that has a substantial and
    increasing effect upon the lifespans and quality of life of
    at least 5,000,000 persons living in the United States and
    as many as 180,000,000 worldwide. According to the U.S.
    Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the chronic
    form of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and hepatitis B virus
    (HBV) account for the vast majority of hepatitis-related
    mortalities in the U.S., yet as many as 65% to 75% of
    infected Americans remain unaware that they are infected
    with the virus, prompting the U.S. Centers for Disease
    Control and Prevention (CDC) to label these viruses as the
    silent epidemic. HCV and HBV are major public health
    problems that cause chronic liver diseases, such as
    cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer. The 5-year
    survival rate for primary liver cancer is less than 5%.
    These viruses are also the leading cause of liver
    transplantation in the United States. While there is a
    vaccine for HBV, no vaccine exists for HCV. However, there
    are anti-viral treatments for HCV that can improve the
    prognosis or actually clear the virus from the patient's
    system. Unfortunately, the vast majority of infected
    patients remain unaware that they have the virus since
    there are generally no symptoms. Therefore, there is a dire
    need to aid the public in identifying certain risk factors
    that would warrant testing for these viruses. Millions of
    infected patients remain undiagnosed and continue to be at
    elevated risks for developing more serious complications.
    More needs to be done to educate the public about this
    disease and the risk factors that warrant testing. In some
    cases, infected patients play an unknowing role in further
    spreading this infectious disease.
        (2) The existence of HCV was definitively published and
    discovered by medical researchers in 1989. Prior to this
    date, HCV is believed to have spread unchecked. The
    American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases
    (AASLD) recommends that primary care physicians screen all
    patients for a history of any viral hepatitis risk factor
    and test those individuals with at least one identifiable
    risk factor for the virus. Some of the most common risk
    factors have been identified by AASLD, HHS, and the U.S.
    Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as other public
    health and medical research organizations, and include the
            (A) anyone who has received a blood transfusion
        prior to 1992;
            (B) anyone who is a Vietnam-era veteran;
            (C) anyone who has abnormal liver function tests;
            (D) anyone infected with the HIV virus;
            (E) anyone who has used a needle to inject drugs;
            (F) any health care, emergency medical, or public
        safety worker who has been stuck by a needle or exposed
        to any mucosal fluids of an HCV-infected person; and
            (G) any children born to HCV-infected mothers.
        A 1994 study determined that Caucasian Americans
    statistically accounted for the most number of infected
    persons in the United States, while the highest incidence
    rates were among African and Hispanic Americans.
        (3) In January of 2010, the Institute of Medicine
    (IOM), commissioned by the CDC, issued a comprehensive
    report entitled Hepatitis and Liver Cancer: A National
    Strategy for Prevention and Control of Hepatitis B and C.
    The key findings and recommendations from the IOM's report
    are (A) there is a lack of knowledge and awareness about
    chronic viral hepatitis on the part of health care and
    social service providers, (B) there is a lack of knowledge
    and awareness about chronic viral hepatitis among at-risk
    populations, members of the public, and policy makers, and
    (C) there is insufficient understanding about the extent
    and seriousness of the public health problem, so inadequate
    public resources are being allocated to prevention,
    control, and surveillance programs.
        (4) In this same 2010 IOM report, researchers compared
    the prevalence and incidences of HCV, HBV, and HIV and
    found that, although there are only 1,100,000 HIV/AIDS
    infected persons in the United States and over 4,000,000
    Americans infected with viral hepatitis, the percentage of
    those with HIV that are unaware they have HIV is only 21%
    as opposed to approximately 70% of those with viral
    hepatitis being unaware that they have viral hepatitis. It
    appears that public awareness of risk factors associated
    with each of these diseases could be a major factor in the
    alarming disparity between the percentage of the
    population that is infected with one of these blood
    viruses, but unaware that they are infected.
        (5) In light of the widely varied nature of the risk
    factors mentioned in this subsection (a), the previous
    findings by the Institute of Medicine, and the clear
    evidence of the disproportional public awareness between
    HIV and viral hepatitis, it is clearly in the public
    interest for this State to establish a task force to gather
    testimony and develop an action plan to (A) increase public
    awareness of the risk factors for these viruses, (B)
    improve access to screening for these viruses, and (C)
    provide those infected with information about the
    prognosis, treatment options, and elevated risk of
    developing cirrhosis and liver cancer. There is clear and
    increasing evidence that many adults in Illinois and in the
    United States have at least one of the risk factors
    mentioned in this subsection (a).
        (6) The General Assembly also finds that it is in the
    public interest to bring communities of Illinois-based
    veterans of American military service into familiarity
    with the issues created by this disease, because many
    veterans, especially Vietnam-era veterans, have at least
    one of the previously enumerated risk factors and are
    especially prone to being affected by this disease; and
    because veterans of American military service should enjoy
    in all cases, and do enjoy in most cases, adequate access
    to health care services that include medical management and
    care for preexisting and long-term medical conditions,
    such as infection with the hepatitis virus.
    (b) There is established the Hepatitis C Task Force within
the Department of Public Health. The purpose of the Task Force
shall be to:
        (1) develop strategies to identify and address the
    unmet needs of persons with hepatitis C in order to enhance
    the quality of life of persons with hepatitis C by
    maximizing productivity and independence and addressing
    emotional, social, financial, and vocational challenges of
    persons with hepatitis C;
        (2) develop strategies to provide persons with
    hepatitis C greater access to various treatments and other
    therapeutic options that may be available; and
        (3) develop strategies to improve hepatitis C
    education and awareness.
    (c) The Task Force shall consist of 17 members as follows:
        (1) the Director of Public Health, the Director of
    Veterans' Affairs, and the Director of Human Services, or
    their designees, who shall serve ex officio;
        (2) ten public members who shall be appointed by the
    Director of Public Health from the medical, patient, and
    service provider communities, including, but not limited
    to, HCV Support, Inc.; and
        (3) four members of the General Assembly, appointed one
    each by the President of the Senate, the Minority Leader of
    the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives,
    and the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives.
    Vacancies in the membership of the Task Force shall be
filled in the same manner provided for in the original
    (d) The Task Force shall organize within 120 days following
the appointment of a majority of its members and shall select a
chairperson and vice-chairperson from among the members. The
chairperson shall appoint a secretary, who need not be a member
of the Task Force.
    (e) The public members shall serve without compensation and
shall not be reimbursed for necessary expenses incurred in the
performance of their duties, unless funds become available to
the Task Force.
    (f) The Task Force shall be entitled to call to its
assistance and avail itself of the services of the employees of
any State, county, or municipal department, board, bureau,
commission, or agency as it may require and as may be available
to it for its purposes.
    (g) The Task Force may meet and hold hearings as it deems
    (h) The Department of Public Health shall provide staff
support to the Task Force.
    (i) The Task Force shall report its findings and
recommendations to the Governor and to the General Assembly,
along with any legislative bills that it desires to recommend
for adoption by the General Assembly, no later than December
31, 2015.
    (j) The Task Force is abolished and this Section is
repealed on January 1, 2016.
    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
becoming law.

Effective Date: 8/16/2013