State Senator Laura FineSPRINGFIELD – Family members will be able to provide greater support for loved ones receiving treatment in mental health facilities under legislation sponsored by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview), which was signed into law Friday. Doctors will be able to provide information to patients’ family members to help them continue care upon release.

“Information is power when it comes to helping loved ones take care of their mental health,” Senator Fine said. “Family members who are involved in every step of the treatment process should receive information from mental health facilities in order to help their relative continue on a path forward with their mental health care.”

Senator Fine’s Access to Basic Mental Health Information Act will give certain family members access to information about their loved one’s care, including whether the individual is located at the mental health facility, their current physical and mental condition, diagnosis, treatment needs, services provided, services and medication needed, discharge planning or continuity of care, and a physician’s report if clinically appropriate.

The parent, adult sibling, adult child, spouse or adult grandchild of the individual in care will be able to request information from the mental health facility if they meet certain criteria.

"This bill ensures that families are not left in the dark when a loved one is in crisis while, at the same time, strengthens protections against abuse, manipulation or limits on patient autonomy,” said State Representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz (D-Glenview), who sponsored the bill in the House. “It’s a critical step to ensuring that families can be there to help when it's needed most."

Public Act 102-0372 was signed into law Friday and will take effect Jan. 1, 2022.

Category: Press Releases

State Senator Laura Fine on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – Illinois families will no longer have to pay for copies of medical records required to file claims for disability benefits under a new law sponsored by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview).

“Illinoisans seeking benefits should not have to pay a dime for paperwork required to file claims,” Senator Fine said. “There’s no reason to stick a price tag on copies of medical records for families who likely already paid high out-of-pocket costs for medical treatment.”

Current law allows homeless indigent veterans to receive medical records from health care facilities and practitioners at no cost to support claims for veterans’ disability benefits. Senator Fine’s law will expand eligibility to allow anyone to receive free medical records to support a claim for veterans’ disability, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, or Aid to the Aged, Blind or Disabled benefits.

“Our state’s benefits programs should work for everyone, not just those who can afford to file a claim,” Senator Fine said. “This law will ease the financial burden in the disability benefits application process and help families in every corner of Illinois.”

House Bill 714 was signed into law Friday and will take effect Jan. 1, 2022.

Category: Press Releases

State Senator Laura Fine on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – Epilepsy specialists will be able to provide telehealth treatment services with the assurance of reimbursement from the Department of Healthcare and Family Services under a new law sponsored by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview).

“Patients seeking telehealth treatment for epilepsy and their providers will no longer have to worry about payment parity for services from home,” Senator Fine said. “Epilepsy specialists delivering the same treatment via telehealth as they would in person should be reimbursed accordingly.”

More than 65 million people around the world are living with epilepsy, according to the Epilepsy Foundation, and many have chosen to seek telehealth treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Senator Fine’s law will ensure epilepsy specialists in Illinois receive the reimbursement they deserve for providing treatment via telehealth to individuals with epilepsy or related disorders.

“The world we are living in could not be more different than the pre-pandemic world, and it’s time to normalize and expand telehealth services,” Senator Fine said. “Illinoisans will now be able to seek timely and proximate treatment for epilepsy from the comfort of their homes without lingering concerns regarding coverage.”

House Bill 3025 was signed into law Friday and takes effect immediately.

Category: Press Releases

State Senator Laura Fine on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – To better protect the health of children and all Illinois residents, the use of toxic coal tar-based pavement sealant in construction projects at public schools and state agencies will have to be disclosed under a measure sponsored by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview), which was signed into law Friday.

“Children and families across Illinois should be able to live their lives without exposure to cancer-causing chemicals on the playground or at work,” Senator Fine said. “This law will protect our communities today and our environment for years to come.”

Under Senator Fine’s Coal Tar Sealant Act, public schools, public school districts, daycares and state agencies will be required to disclose the use of coal tar-based sealant on playgrounds, parking lots and other paved areas. This measure will also require groups planning to use coal tar-based sealant for a pavement project to look into cleaner alternatives.

High levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) are found in coal tar sealants used in pavement projects, which could lead to environmental contamination as the sealants wear away over time. There are environmentally friendly alternatives to coal tar-based sealants with little to no PAH that are available at a similar cost.

Studies have shown PAH compounds may cause cancer, birth defects and other health complications. Lifelong exposure to coal tar-treated pavements and playgrounds can increase an individual's cancer risk by 38 times.

"Clearing playgrounds, schools, park districts and public buildings of coal tar is an important step to eliminating a pollutant that is a threat to our local environment and a health hazard to Illinoisans," said State Representative Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston), who sponsored the bill in the House. "Removing coal tar products will help ensure our communities are a safe place for our kids to grow up."

Senate Bill 692 was signed into law Friday and will take effect Jan. 1, 2023.

Category: Press Releases

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Contact Information

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

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

laura@senatorfine.com