Downstate Illinois continues to face shortages of medical personnel, and two new laws in effect are designed to address the problem.
State Rep. Lance Yednock, D-Ottawa, said the current medical staff in smaller communities is running out.
“Everyone is overworked, nurses, LPNs, RNs, everyone,” Yednock said. “Top to bottom, overworked and understaffed.”
A measure amends the Loan Repayment Assistance for Doctors Act to address the shortage of healthcare providers in rural communities and expands loan repayment eligibility to more doctors, d advanced practice registered nurses and medical assistants.
“It’s like anything you would do in business, you try to find incentives to keep people in more rural areas, and we’ve had a lot of hospital closures downstate and homes pension for the elderly,” Yednock said.
According to a study by the University of Minnesota’s Center for Rural Health Research, rural populations are generally older and have more health needs than those living in urban areas, despite shortages of transportation and cover.
Another measure allows any hospital in a county with fewer than 125,000 residents to apply to the state health department to conduct operations from multiple locations in contiguous counties under a single license.
As a result of the bill, St. Margaret’s Health – Spring Valley will have the option of merging with St. Margaret’s Health – Peru. The bill’s sponsors said it would increase health care coordination in rural counties and improve the quality of care for patients in those systems.
“The merger between St. Margaret’s Health and Illinois Valley Community Hospital will provide residents of the Illinois Valley community with an opportunity for better and more coordinated health care,” said Deputy Minority Leader Sue Rezin. , R-Morris. “This partnership will help create a more structurally and financially secure health care network in the region that will be better positioned to provide more health care options and improved services.”