Blagojevich administration steps up for healthcare at Fiesta Boricua


August 29, 2008 


Kelley Quinn 312/814.3158

Marielle Sainvilus (IDHS) 312/814.8199

Tom Green (IDHS) 217/558.1538

Illinois Department of Human Services and state agencies promote healthcare and services to Latino community

CHICAGO - Officials from the Blagojevich administration will promote healthcare and provide activities and services to help some 300,000 festival-goers connect with state programs and "Step Up for Healthcare" during this weekend's Fiesta Boricua, a festival celebrating the best of Chicago's Puerto Rican culture, participants will also able to sign up for healthcare programs, receive free health screenings and learn about State services.

The State will feature a health corridor on Washtenaw Street at the festival, with informational booths and services from the state agencies. Near the corridor, participants can enjoy the sounds of various Puerto Rican musical acts on the State of Illinois stage.

"We are attending Fiesta Boricua to provide better access to services for the Latino community, and to respond to Governor Blagojevich's call to 'Step Up for Healthcare'," said IDHS Secretary, Carol L. Adams, Ph.D.

Those who attend Fiesta Boricua will be greeted by IDHS representatives at a welcoming tent for those new to the United States. Similar to the recently opened Illinois Welcoming Center in Melrose Park, the tent will offer information and access to State programs including healthcare.

The Illinois Departments of Public Health (IDPH), Children and Family Services (DCFS), Aging (IDoA), Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) and the Illinois Welcoming Center will proudly join DHS in the effort to promote a healthy lifestyle among the state's Puerto Rican community.

-- IDPH will provide three of its Wellness on Wheels vans to offer HIV testing, dental exams, school physicals and educational health information. Cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure, glaucoma, prostrate and stroke screenings will be provided at an additional wellness booth.

-- DCFS will help register bilingual foster parents, and will recruit qualified Hispanic/Bilingual candidates for state positions within the department.

-- The HFS "Step Up for Healthcare" area will provide free health screenings, and assist residents in enrolling in the State's many healthcare programs.

Governor Blagojevich has worked to improve the health of Illinois citizens by increasing access to healthcare for working families and encouraging Illinois citizens to lead healthier lives. Recently the Governor announced that he will use his executive authority to bolster state healthcare programs and give 500,000 more Illinoisans access to affordable health coverage and services.

Throughout his tenure, Governor Blagojevich has made great strides in providing ways to provide healthcare to the people of Illinois, including:

  • In September 2006, Gov. Blagojevich expanded the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP) enabling up to 3,000 more uninsured, low-income women in the state to be eligible for free cancer screenings and treatment. Last year, the Governor expanded free breast and cervical cancer screenings, giving every uninsured woman in Illinois access to breast and cervical cancer screenings and treatment.
  • In 2006, Governor Blagojevich implemented All Kids, the first comprehensive healthcare program of its kind in the nation. Under All Kids, all uninsured children in Illinois have access to comprehensive health insurance that includes doctor visits, immunizations, hospital stays, prescription drugs, vision care, dental care, speech therapy, physical therapy and eyeglasses. Premiums are based on individual families' incomes so they are more affordable than private insurance rates.
  • In September 2005, Gov. Blagojevich launched the BASUAH (Brothers and Sisters United Against HIV/AIDS) initiative.
  • The Illinois Department of Public Health has worked, through its Heart Smart for Women and Heart Smart for Teens programs, to educate women and girls about the risk factors of cardiovascular diseases, promote the importance of a healthy diet and physical activity and assist in developing a healthier lifestyle