fine hb1186SPRINGFIELD – Navigating the healthcare system can be challenging and time consuming, especially for patients with HMOs.  Currently, to see a specialist, HMO patients first have to visit their primary care doctor to get their specialist appointment covered by their insurance. State Senator Laura Fine has introduced legislation in order to eliminate this hurdle.

“When it comes to your health, getting the right care in a timely manner can make a tremendous difference,” said Fine (D-Glenview). “With this initiative, people will be able to get the specialized care they need as soon as possible.” 

House Bill 1186 would allow HMO patients to have appointments and care with in-network specialists covered by their insurance, eliminating the requirement to get a referral from a general practitioner. This will allow HMO patients to get the care they need in a timely manner.

“Requiring the extra step of visiting a primary care doctor is more often than not a hindrance to getting timely care,” said Fine. “HMO patients will no longer have to take more time out of their busy schedules for extra doctor appointments or risk paying more out of pocket for specialized care.”

House Bill 1186 passed the Senate Insurance committee on Tuesday. It now goes to the Senate floor for further consideration.

Category: Press Releases

fine 855SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Laura Fine has passed legislation to ensure reports of abuse or neglect in state-operated developmental centers are thoroughly investigated and addressed. The legislation intends to address allegations of abuse at Choate Mental Health and Developmental Center in Anna, Illinois, where certain staff members have been accused and charged with multiple accounts of abuse to patients.

“Vulnerable residents living in state-run facilities are entitled to the best care possible and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect,” said Fine (D-Glenview). “This initiative will ensure people who take advantage of people in our care will face consequences for their actions.”  

Choate Mental Health and Developmental Center serves patients struggling with mental and behavioral health concerns and/or developmental disabilities. Some employees of Choate have been charged with and found guilty of physically or emotionally abusing patients, as well as obstructing official probes and lying to investigators about wrongdoing. 

Senate Bill 855 would create repercussions for employees who do not report incidents of abuse under the Code of Silence. People who do not report cases of abuse or who actively obstructed investigative reports would be added to the Illinois Department of Public Health’s health care workers registry, letting future employers know their role in silencing survivors of abuse at their job. These additions will hold bad actors accountable and discourage employees from obstructing investigations.

“It is the responsibility of the state to protect our most vulnerable from abuse and neglect,” said Fine. “This legislation will be an important tool to deter further atrocities from taking place.”

Senate Bill 855 passed the Senate on Wednesday, March 29. It now goes to the House for further discussion.

Category: Press Releases

fine 99SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Laura Fine’s legislation to require public institutions to provide accommodations for individuals with disabilities if they meet transparent eligibility requirements passed the Senate, making it one step closer to becoming law.

“Destigmatizing disabilities in our society is a multi-step process,” said Fine (D-Glenview). “Ensuring accommodations are easily accessible to university students is a good place to start.”

Currently, federal law only protects students with disabilities seeking public higher education from being discriminated against based on their disability and does not outline the need for reasonable academic accommodations past high school. Senate Bill 99 would establish a process for students with disabilities to receive reasonable accommodations from public universities and colleges.

This measure would define the types of documents that universities must accept as proof of a disability in order for a student to receive the accommodations, including diagnostic testing or other recent documents. From this information, colleges and universities would be required to provide reasonable accommodations that they deem to be appropriate for the student requesting the services. This will ensure that students will receive the supports they need to thrive in higher education.

Additionally, public universities would also be required to adopt transparent policies regarding disability services available and to share the information with students and families so that prospective students with disabilities can make informed decisions about the quality of accessibility services a university can provide them. All of these statutes will help students with disabilities be better supported when pursuing higher education.

“Students should not face barriers to access necessary accommodations for their disabilities,” said Fine. “It is long past time that protections requiring these accommodations are codified so that students with disabilities are granted necessary supports from their college or university.” 

Senate Bill 99 passed the Senate on Wednesday, March 29. It now goes to the House for further discussion. 

Category: Press Releases

fine 67SPRINGFIELD – To provide early detection of a rare genetic disease, Metachromatic Leukodystrophy, or MLD, State Senator Laura Fine advanced legislation to add a screening test for MLD to the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Newborn Screening Program.

“Early screening is essential to getting children the care they need as soon as possible,” said Fine (D-Glenview). “Adding MLD to the Newborn Screening Program would give families and children with MLD the opportunity to pursue treatment earlier — improving their quality of life.”

MLD is a genetic disorder leading to progressive loss of nervous system function and early death. Currently, MLD is diagnosed through a blood test looking for enzyme deficiency, a urine test or genetic testing. Additional tests can be conducted on those who show progressive symptoms of MLD. While there is no cure for MLD, diagnosing the disease early can lead to treatment options that make a difference in the patient’s quality of life.

Senate Bill 67 would add a screening test for MLD to the Newborn Screening Program, which currently tests for about 50 disorders.

“Sadly, MLD currently has no cure, which makes every day with a child with MLD even more precious,” said Fine. “When a child receives early treatment, it greatly improves their quality of life, which is what this is all about.”

Senate Bill 67 passed the Senate on Wednesday, March 29. It now goes to the House for further discussion.

Category: Press Releases

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Springfield Office:
121-A Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-2119

District Office:
1812 Waukegan Road
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Glenview, IL 60025
(847) 998-1717