METNWS-08-19-21 SR FOCUS — GOV SENIOR BILLS_PHOTO

Gov. JB Pritzker signs bills into law aimed at providing better health care for Illinois seniors, including those suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. The signings took place Monday during the Illinois State Fair where it was Senior and Scout Day.

SPRINGFIELD — With the ongoing Illinois State Fair as a backdrop, Gov. JB Pritzker signed several bills into law in recent days during ceremonies that coincided with daily fair themes.

On Monday, which was Senior and Scout Day at the fair, Pritzker signed a package of bills aimed at improving health care for seniors, including those suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

“I am excited to sign four pieces of legislation that will make Illinois an even safer state for seniors,” Pritzker said at the signing ceremony. “Together, the steps we’re taking today mark a bipartisan commitment to ensuring that Illinois seniors can live their best lives.”

Senate Bill 677, by Sen. Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) and Rep. Kathleen Willis (D-Addison), requires all health care workers with a continuing education requirement as part of their license take at least a one-hour training course each renewal period on the diagnosis, treatment and care of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. That new requirement takes effect Jan. 1, 2023.

House Bill 848, by Rep. Natalie Manley (D-Joliet) and Sen. Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake), extends the Illinois Lottery’s special scratch-off game that helps fund Alzheimer’s care, support, education and awareness to Jan. 1, 2025. It was scheduled to expire in 2022. HB 848 is effective immediately.

House Bill 3147, by Manley and Sen. Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park), addresses an issue that arose during the pandemic when patients in long-term care facilities were unable to communicate with family members due to lock-downs of those facilities. It requires those facilities to make “every reasonable effort” to facilitate at least one phone call or video call with a family member each day during a governor-declared disaster. It took effect immediately.

And House Bill 2570, by Rep. Dan Brady (R-Bloomington) and Sen. Omar Aquino (D-Chicago), allows drivers over age 55 to qualify for automobile insurance rate reductions by taking an online defensive driving course or accident prevention course, rather than an in-person course. HB2570 is effective upon becoming law.

“The past year has been challenging for all of us, but especially for older adults,” said Paula Basta, director of the Illinois Department on Aging. “This package of legislation is about respecting yesterday, supporting today and planning for tomorrow.”

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