Gov. Pritzker talks broadband expansion, improving health in Peoria

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker spoke about how the statewide broadband expansion should improve telehealth and health outcomes for people who live in rural areas at Jump Trading Simulation & Education Center on Tuesday morning.

“We now need to make sure that we’re connecting everybody in the state to broadband or high-speed or ultra-high-speed internet,” said Gov. J.B. Pritzker. “It’s the most comprehensive broadband development program… this Connect Illinois.. that there is in the entire nation.”

“Connect Illinois” is a four-year program designed to deliver broadband to homes, businesses, hospitals, schools, and more to all parts of the state.

Telehealth is a way for doctors and specialized physicians to be able to reach remote areas and provide solutions to health concerns.

“These services connect all of our hospitals throughout the state to ensure access to a variety of specialists in each of the communities, both urban and rural, that we’ve been called to serve,” said CEO of OSF Healthcare, Robert Sehring.

The new wave model used at OSF Healthcare in Peoria can only be maximized by utilizing high-speed broadband. Something Governor Pritzker is hoping an initiative called Connect Illinois will help to accomplish.

“[Connect Illinois] is providing matching funds from the federal government, local government and private partners for us to get these things done,” said Pritzker.

Currently, OSF Healthcare’s Digital Care Services include virtual advanced care, which includes have neonatal, behavioral health and other specialists just clicks away.

OSF Healthcare has 13 hospitals across the state, one in Michigan with 2,192 licensed beds.

Connect Illinois is included in the governor’s capital investment plan from his Rebuild Illinois initiative.

“We have a lot that we’re going to get done, and it’s essential, frankly, for our economic development,” Pritzker said.

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