October Update from Rep. Bellock

Dear Friend,

I hope this note finds you and your family well; and enjoying the onset of autumn. I would like to thank everyone who attended one or more of my six recent town hall meetings held throughout the district in September. We enjoyed a robust discussion with constituents in Oak Brook, Clarendon Hills, Elmhurst, Western Springs, Westmont and Hinsdale on issues ranging from the state budget, veterans services, identity theft, heroin abuse in the western suburbs, and a recap of federal issues in Washington, DC with Congressman Peter Roskam. 

For those of you who were not able to attend any of the town hall meetings this fall, I look forward to seeing you at a community event in your area in the near future. Please scroll below for recent updates of interest and concern to local families and taxpayers.– Patti

Midway Noise Increase
  • Statement from the Chicago Department of Aviation in regards to the increase in noise traffic:
The runway configuration and flight paths in use at the time (arrivals and departures on Runway 13C) is one of many approved runway configurations for Midway.  This particular runway configuration is used by the FAA less than 10 percent of the time annually. 

During the time of runway construction - September 10 - 13 -  the runway configuration was used by the FAA due mostly to wind conditions.  The 56-hour closure of Runway 4R/22L that was planned for Sept 28 – Oct 1 for EMAS replacement, runway electrical and runway civil work was rescheduled for Oct 2 – 5. There are many factors that determine which runway configuration is used by the FAA, including weather conditions, runway construction and aircraft performance.  

Runway repairs and rehabilitation occur periodically at Midway. This was a temporary  issue. The runway usage, as determined by the FAA, depends on weather conditions.

Here also is the link to the Midway Noise Management site that will explain the traffic pattern changes and has a form that may be filled out to help the Chicago Aviation department to better communicate the issues with the FAA.

COGFA estimate shows substantial state deficit
  • The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA) - the Illinois General Assembly’s independent budget analysts, recently released this chart on Indicators of Illinois Economic Activity. I thought my constituents might find this of interest:

Improving Outcomes, Reducing Costs – The case for an 1115 Waiver

Providing quality health care at a lower cost for patients with mental health and substance abuse needs is a laudable goal most people would support. The challenge, of course, is how to achieve that outcome.

Currently, 3.2 million Illinoisans rely upon Medicaid for their medical needs; the state’s health care program for Illinois’ most vulnerable population including children from low-income families and their caretakers, pregnant women, and persons who are disabled, blind or 65 years of age or older.

Behavioral health (mental health and substance abuse) is one area where we can significantly improve outcomes for patients in a more cost-efficient way. 

To put this in perspective, patients with behavioral health needs represent 25% of Illinois’ total Medicaid population; yet account for a whopping 56% of all Medicaid spending.
To remedy this, Illinois is seeking approval of what is known as an “1115 waiver”, a contract between the state and federal government that waives federal Medicaid requirements and gives the federal government authority to approve an experimental, pilot, or demonstration project here at the state level. The purpose of these projects is to create an innovative service delivery system to improve care, increase efficiency, and reduce costs – in a way that is unattainable without approval of an 1115 waiver.

With input from over 2,000 stakeholders, the State of Illinois has developed a budget-neutral plan for such a project, a truly patient-centered approach that promises to integrate behavioral and physical health; transform the current fragmented and unsustainable system with new payment and delivery reforms; improve managed care; enhance the current workforce capacity; and ensure greater accountability every step of the way. 

Public hearings were held this month in Springfield and Chicago allowing patients, health care providers and other stakeholders with an opportunity to make their voices heard. Now, we’re ready to move forward.

We need the federal government to approve an 1115 waiver for Illinois, so that we may implement our plan to improve outcomes for all Illinois Medicaid patients with mental health and substance abuse issues while simultaneously reducing costs to taxpayers and making our health care system more accountable. This is a unique opportunity for Illinois to create the nation’s leading behavioral health system. For more information, please visit http://hhstransformation.illinois.gov.

Red Ribbon Week
  • Red Ribbon Week is coming up October 23-31.  The National Family Partnership organized the first Nationwide Red Ribbon Campaign. NFP provides drug awareness by sponsoring the annual National Red Ribbon Campaign™. Since its beginning in 1985, the Red Ribbon has touched the lives of millions of people around the world. In response to the murder of DEA Agent Enrique Camarena, angered parents and youth in communities across the country began wearing Red Ribbons as a symbol of their commitment to raise awareness of the killing and destruction cause by drugs in America.
Enrique (Kiki) Camarena was a Drug Enforcement Administration Agent who was tortured and killed in Mexico in 1985. When he decided to join the US Drug Enforcement Administration, his mother tried to talk him out of it. "I'm only one person", he told her, "but I want to make a difference."

On Feb. 7, 1985, the 37-year-old Camarena left his office to meet his wife for lunch. Five men appeared at the agent's side and shoved him in a car. One month later, Camarena's body was found. He had been tortured to death.

In honor of Camarena's memory and his battle against illegal drugs, friends and neighbors began to wear red badges of satin. Parents, sick of the destruction of alcohol and other drugs, had begun forming coalitions. Some of these new coalitions took Camarena as their model and embraced his belief that one person can make a difference. These coalitions also adopted the symbol of Camarena's memory, the red ribbon.

In 1988, NFP sponsored the first National Red Ribbon Celebration. Today, the Red Ribbon serves as a catalyst to mobilize communities to educate youth and encourage participation in drug prevention activities. Since that time, the campaign has reached millions of U.S. children and families. The National Family Partnership (NFP) and its network of individuals and organizations continue to deliver his message of hope to millions of people every year, through the National Red Ribbon Campaign™

For questions or comments on any of the issues covered in this newsletter, or any other state issues of concern to you and your family, please always feel welcome to contact my District Office by phone at (630) 852-8633 or via email at rep@pbellock.com. I look forward to serving you.

Warmest Regards,
Patti Bellock
Deputy Minority Leader
State Representative, 47th District