Gov. Pritzker signs package of legislation to further protect senior Illinoisans

State News

Illinois leads the nation by requiring alzheimer’s diagnosis training

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WMBD) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a group of bills with the goal of expanding equitable access to healthcare for Illinois’ aging population.

The package of four bills was signed during Senior Day at the fair. Part of the package requires licensed healthcare professionals who serve adults to get regular Alzheimer’s Disease training.

Senate Bill 677

Senate Bill 677 mandates that licensed health care professionals who treat patients aged 26 and older must take at least an hour-long course on diagnosis, treatment, and care related to Alzheimer’s and other dementias. It will cover topics such as how to identify and diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, effective communication strategies, and management and care planning.

“These bills reflect our commitment to ensuring our seniors get the best resources and care the state has to offer,” said Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton. “I’m especially proud of the groundbreaking SB 677 which makes Illinois the first state in the nation to require Alzheimer’s diagnosis training for healthcare professionals. I know from personal experience, this will improve the lives of people living with Alzheimer’s and their loved ones.”

In order to accurately and effectively provide care and guidance to individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease, the legislation provides healthcare professionals, including those serving residents in historically underserved communities, with the tools they need to pursue continuing medical education. In expanding public awareness of Alzheimer’s disease, Illinois is taking the lead at the national level.

“Diagnosing Alzheimer’s early is essential for receiving the best treatment possible,” said State Sen. Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago). “This new law will better enable healthcare professionals to identify and recommend resources for patients showing signs of dementia.”

The law takes effect on Jan. 1, 2023.

“230,000 Illinois residents are living with Alzheimer’s disease,” said State Rep. Kathleen Willis (D-Northlake). “Early detection is key to treatment. By working with all healthcare professionals on increasing their training for early screening, we hope to see better outcomes for families impacted by this disease. I am extremely proud to have worked with the Lt. Governor and the Alzheimer’s’ Association to pass SB 677.”

House Bill 848

House Bill 848 extends the Alzheimer’s scratch-off lottery through Jan. 1, 2025. The amended Illinois lottery law will extend the sale of the special instant scratch-off game and benefit Alzheimer’s care, support, education, and awareness in Illinois for three more years.

“To ensure that no one is left without the medical care that they need, it is important that we are providing ample resources to organizations that help those with Alzheimer’s,” said Assistant Majority Natalie Manley (D-Romeoville). “I would like to thank Gov. Pritzker for signing this legislation and ensuring those suffering from Alzheimer’s are able to receive the care they deserve.”

House Bill 848 is effective immediately.

“Alzheimer’s Disease claims the lives of thousands every year. It’s vital that we find ways to support efforts to educate the public and bring awareness to this devastating disease,” said State Sen. Melinda Bush (D – Grayslake). “I commend the governor for signing this legislation and making awareness a priority.”

House Bill 3147

House Bill 3147 mandates during public health emergencies, long-term care facilities are required to facilitate virtual communication among residents and families.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how being able to virtually connect with loved ones is an important part of many people’s lives,” said Assistant Majority Leader Natalie Manley (D-Romeoville). “Unfortunately, seniors in nursing homes and other facilities haven’t always had the resources necessary to virtually connect with their family and friends, causing many to be isolated. This law ensures that seniors in long-term living facilities will no longer be cut off from communicating with their loved ones during emergencies such as the current pandemic.”

In addition, the legislation adds a section to the Nursing Home Care Act and the Hospital Licensing Act dealing with communication methods between doctors and patients during a pandemic. During a public health emergency, long-term care facilities and hospitals are required to facilitate at least one daily phone call or video call between a resident or patient and their family member.

“Social isolation during the pandemic, especially those first few months, was detrimental to the mental well-being of a lot of our long-term care residents,” said State Sen. Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park). “Should the state ever face a disaster like that again, this new law will ensure those residents have a line of contact to their loved ones, whether it be a phone call or a video call.”

The law takes effect immediately.

House Bill 2570

House Bill 2570 ensures that individuals 55 and older who complete an online defensive driving course may still qualify for a discount on their auto insurance.

“The new law opens up access to driver training to more mature drivers in Illinois,” said Deputy Republican Leader Dan Brady (R-Bloomington). “Through eLearning, Illinoisans 55 and older can easily access to the instruction they need to not to only stay safe on the roadways, but also reduce their vehicle insurance premiums.”

The law is effective immediately.

“Safer drivers deserve better deals with their car insurance providers. Insurance policies are set based on risk. Therefore, older adults over the age of 55, who completed at least eight hours of defensive driving training, overseen by the Secretary of State, deserve to see benefits from improving their skills,” said State Sen. Omar Aquino (D-Chicago). “I applaud Gov. J.B. Pritzker for supporting responsible drivers.”

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