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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 6, 2000

Illinois Ranked Seventh in the Nation in Providing Health Care Services for Children in Low-Income Households

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced that Illinois ranked seventh among the fifty states in ensuring that children in low-income households receive health care. The ranking is based on information released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

"My administration is committed to ensuring that every child has access to quality, affordable health care," Governor Ryan said. ""Enrollment in the state's KidCare program has quadrupled since I took office. This recognition is an indication that we are making strides in helping children receive the preventive health care they need.

"Preparing children for a promising future begins with keeping them healthy."

The HHS rankings are based on the most recent data available, federal fiscal year 1998. According to the records, 73 percent of Medicaid-eligible children of all ages in Illinois received at least one preventive health care service, compared with 67 percent of all Medicaid-eligible children nationwide. Illinois' performance was particularly good for infants: 95 percent of Medicaid-eligible infants received at least one preventive health care service compared with 79 percent for the nation as a whole.

These results mean that children who are eligible for KidCare, Illinois' program to provide insurance coverage for otherwise uninsured children, are seeing a doctor for check-ups, immunizations, screening and treatment for other health problems more often than their counterparts in most other states. Because of access to preventive health care, these children are more likely to remain healthy, to have childhood illnesses diagnosed and treated earlier, to miss fewer days of school and to require their parents to miss fewer days of work to keep medical appointments. Both KidCare and the Family Case Management program administered by the Department of Human Services (DHS) contribute to Illinois' continued ranking as among the best in the nation in terms of health care services to children.

"Family Case Management helps parents with limited incomes obtain medical care and other services for their infants by working with doctors and other providers in the family's community," explained DHS Secretary, Linda ReneƩ Baker. "It has already been demonstrated that this program improves the health of pregnant women and reduces the need for specialized health care for infants during their first year of life. The improvement in our national ranking is further proof that Family Case Management is a success."

To obtain information about the KidCare program and/or to determine the Family Case Management provider in a particular area contact the DHS Help Me Grow/Futures for Kids Helpline at 800/323-GROW (800/323-4769, or to apply for KidCare call 1-866-4-OUR-KIDS (1-866-468-7543)for an application.


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