SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today named the first three new members to the recently-reconfigured Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board, including former Congressman and rural health advocate Glenn Poshard who was appointed as the new chairman.
In August, the Governor signed legislation terminating the terms of all nine previous members and allowing him to name a leaner five-member board. Today’s appointments provide a quorum of the five-member board, enabling it to immediately resume its meeting schedule to consider and take official action on pending applications.
“These three individuals bring a critical understanding of our state’s health care needs and a high caliber of personal integrity to the Board. They will provide the fresh start the Board needs to reclaim the confidence of health care providers and the public,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “Under Glenn Poshard’s leadership, the needs of rural areas of our state that have faced some of the most serious gaps in access to quality health care will be well represented.”
All three of the Governor’s appointments have experience working in or with the health care industry in Illinois. The new members are:
· Glenn Poshard (D-Carbondale). As a former U.S. Congressman and state legislator from Southern Illinois, Poshard worked closely with health care providers and advocates to address health care access needs unique to rural communities. He served as co-chair of the Rural Health Care Caucus in the U.S. Congress, and helped write national legislation dealing with critical care access designation for small and rural hospitals and rural medical transportation. He currently serves on the Southern Illinois University at Carbondale Board of Trustees, and holds three degrees from the University, including a Masters Degree in Health Education. Term expires 7/01/07.
· Pamela Woodward (D-Palos Park). Woodward spent seven years working as a training specialist in the Licensed Practical Nursing program at the City Colleges of Chicago, and taught psychology courses as an adjunct professor at Kankakee Community College and Governor's State University. She is a vice president and financial advisor for Morgan Stanley in Orland Park. She has a Masters Degree in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago and in Communications from Governors State University. Term expires 7/01/06.
· Susana Lopatka (R-Chicago). In December of 2002, Lopatka retired from a sixteen-year tenure with the State of Illinois where she served as a Department of Human Services’ maternal and child health nurse consultant for the Cook County region. Before that, she was the nursing director of Chicago Lying-In Hospital at the University of Chicago Medical Center. She started her career in New York City, where she held clinical, management and educational positions in public health, ambulatory care and acute care. In her nursing administration positions at the University of Chicago and Mt. Sinai Medical Centers in New York, she participated in the planning and implementation of replacement medical facilities. Lopatka holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from Columbia University and a Masters Degree in Nursing from New York University. Term expires 7/01/06.
The Health Facilities Planning Act was created to restrain rising health care costs by preventing unnecessary construction or modification of health care facilities. The Board issues permits for construction or modification projects proposed by or on behalf of healthcare facilities, and approves transactions for the acquisition of major medical equipment.
Under legislation signed by the Governor in August to reform the Board, all members must have a reasonable knowledge of health planning, health finance and health care. The new law also specifies that a person should not be appointed or continue to serve as a member of the Board if they or their spouse, parent or child is, a member of the board of directors of, has a direct or indirect financial interest in, or has a business relationship with a health care facility. The new law also prohibits exparte communications between members, employees or hearing officers of the state board and any person or party with a financial interest in the outcome of a pending or impending permit application.
Before signing legislation reconstituting the Board, the Governor declared a moratorium on all activities of the board in response to a federal investigation and allegations of potential conflicts-of-interest.
Today’s appointments give the Board authority to resume its responsibilities.