June 7, 2023 – IAFCC Statement on FY24 Budget Session Closing
from Chair Jeffrey Task and Executive Director Melissa Maguire
The Illinois Association of Free & Charitable Clinics (IAFCC) appreciates the serious deliberation and difficult decisions made by the Illinois General Assembly in crafting a budget that is supportive of the populations our 52 clinics serve. As a critical part of the Illinois health care safety net, the IAFCC clinics are dedicated to providing free, comprehensive, high quality, health care to the uninsured and underinsured through mostly donated resources. Due to the support provided by Illinois Governor JB Pritzker and the members of the General Assembly, the IAFCC was able to distribute nearly $9 million from a first ever State of Illinois appropriation in the current State Fiscal Year to serve a population of Illinois residents in which 100 percent live below the federal poverty level through an estimated 100,000 patient visits that saved Illinois hospitals more than $33 million in emergency room visits, over $20 million in value of donated care for a total of over $53 million. The small investment in the clinics goes along way.
For the upcoming fiscal year, the IAFCC asked for continued funding of $9 million and were appropriated $4 million. With recognition of the tough decisions that were made to make this budget balanced and compassionate, the IAFCC is grateful for the amount received. Thanks to Governor Pritzker signing off on a new $4 million IAFCC appropriation for the upcoming State Fiscal Year, the members of the IAFCC will continue to serve traditional patients while continuing to prioritize helping the state in two key areas – migrant health care and Medicaid redetermination.
IAFCC member clinics and the professionals who work with those clinics have been on the front lines in terms of leadership and direct service provision in helping Illinois address what is now a migrant/refugee health care crisis in our state. Because of constraints placed on other members of the Illinois healthcare safety net, the IAFCC clinics are uniquely positioned to provide direct
patient care that other institutions cannot. During the pandemic, we were active in assisting people in accessing the temporarily emergency Medicaid benefits. But with the sunsetting of those benefits and Medicaid redetermination, we are once again prepared to provide healthcare for those people found not eligible and will be monitoring how we can help them receive benefits from the new Illinois Health Exchange that was approved in this last legislative session.
In closing, the IAFCC expresses deep gratitude to our champions State Senator Karina Villa, Leader Theresa Mah, and Senator Celina Villanueva who continue to be fierce advocates of free and charitable clinics. We would also like to give sincere appreciation to the supporters who co-sponsored our legislation and uplifted the needs of the clinics: (in no particular order) Senator Javier L. Cervantes, Senator Laura Fine, Senator Robert Peters, Senator Mike Simmons, Senator Ram Villivalam, Representative Will Guzzardi, Leader Barbara Hernandez, Representative Lindsey LaPointe, Representative Dagmara Avelar, Representative Matt Hanson, Representative Kevin John Olickal, Representative Kelly M. Cassidy, Representative Diane Blair-Sherlock and Representative Jenn Ladisch Douglass. Without their unwavering support, uninsured and underinsured Illinois residents and migrants to Illinois would suffer.
Free and Charitable Clinics receive first ever funding from state to provide care to uninsured and underinsured Illinois residents
On Saturday, March 25, the Illinois Association of Free and Charitable Clinics received its first grant from the state of Illinois, hand-delivered by Comptroller Susana Mendoza at Aurora Christian Health Center, 615 S. Broadway, Aurora, Ill., at 9:30 a.m.
Free and Charitable Clinic advocates and supporters, Senator Karina Villa, Representative Theresa Mah, Representative Dagmara Avelar, Representative Matt Hanson, and Representative Barbara Hernandez, were all in attendance and spoke on behalf of the importance of these funds.
Saturday’s check presentation marked the release of the first half of the $9,000,000 granted to the Illinois Association of Free and Charitable Clinics which is to be dispersed among clinics across the state of Illinois. Comptroller Mendoza led the discussion and ended the remarks in reassuring, “Every penny of this is going to be invested in people…every penny we spend on these Illinoisans is going to keep them out of the emergency room which means that this is truly is an investment, not just in the people that [free and charitable clinics] serve, but the taxpayers… I can attest, as the Comptroller, that this is truly a wise investment”.
Read the entire press release here:
IAFCC’s Response to the State of the State Address by Governor J.B. Pritzker on February 15th, 2023
Advocacy & Policy Efforts
The IAFCC is dedicated to supporting policies that advance our free and charitable clinics. One of the ways the IAFCC works to support policy is through the Advocacy and Policy Committee. The committee is responsible for guiding the Association in advocating for and developing policies that address the health care gaps of the underserved in Illinois. A priority of the committee will be to advocate for policies and resources that support Free and Charitable Clinics in Illinois as a valuable member of Illinois’ safety net. The committee meets every third Wednesday of the month at 11 am and is open to all members.
Past legislation the committee and the IAFCC have helped pass: In January 2022, the IAFCC was part of the collation that passed the Illinois Drug Reuse Opportunity Program also known as I-DROP. This act allows for any health care provider, or practice licensed to possess prescription drugs, such as free and charitable clinics to be able to accept donated prescriptions in the state of Illinois. More information and updates about I-DROP are available at https://www.ilrxdrugrepository.org
Additionally, the IAFCC helped pass changes to the uninsured patient discount act more information can be found on the fact sheet below. For this year 2022, the Illinois House and Senate have passed resolutions that acknowledge August as Free and Charitable Clinics Month the House resolutions can be found here and the Senate resolution here. More information about that can be found on our Free and Charitable clinics month page https://www.illinoisfreeclinics.org/what-we-do/free-charitable-clinics-month/
The IAFCC has acknowledged the importance of behavioral health and has supported policies that have passed both the house and the senate such as HB4645 which includes scholarship funds or loan repayment programs for health care workers (including behavior health workers). Through the work of the behavioral health workgroup, the IAFCC can track policies that advance our behavioral health priorities. All members interested are able to join either the advocacy and policy committee or behavioral health group please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org