MCHD's Home Page
Here you'll find items of current interest — new programs, recent guidance, or timely reminders. Just scroll through the topics below to get the latest information!
The Affordable Care Act & Health Care Reform in Illinois
Fact Sheet on Implementation Efforts
The federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) together with Illinois Public Act 98-104 will increase access to health coverage as a critical step toward improving the health of the people of Illinois. Here is how:
Illinois residents can use the Health Insurance Marketplace – This is an online marketplace where health insurance companies sell insurance to uninsured people who do not get insurance at work and who do not qualify for Medicaid. Find out more at www.Healthcare.gov
§ Consumers can easily compare health plans and see what their costs will be before deciding what plan to buy. All plans will cover Essential Health Benefits such as preventive care, doctor visit prescription drugs, maternity care, emergency services, hospital stays and more.
§ Consumers may qualify for financial help through the Marketplace to lower monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs.
§ Insurance companies cannot deny anyone coverage because they are sick or because they have a preexisting health condition.
More people will be able to receive Medicaid – For the first time, low-income adults who are legal residents, regardless of parental or health status, may be eligible for health coverage through Medicaid.
§ Starting January 1, 2014, all adults with incomes at or below 138% of the federal poverty level based on family size may qualify – about $15,860 per year per adult and $21,400 per couple. Applications for this new group known as “ACA Adults” can be submitted starting October 1, 2013.
Easier, More Convenient Ways to Apply and Enhanced Program Integrity – A new, user-friendly, online, application known as the Application for Benefits Eligibility (ABE) will make it easier to apply for Medicaid, SNAP, the Medicare Savings Program, and Cash Assistance.
§ This system will replace existing online applications and support enhanced functions like electronic signatures and allow applicants to upload electronic copies of documents making it faster to apply.
§ Community organizations around the State can help people sign up for the Health Insurance Marketplace and Medicaid. Consumers can also apply for over the phone and by mail.
Which Program is Right for Me? – A “landing page” website will provide basic screening questions about household size and income and will guide someone to the right program: ABE for Medicaid or the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace (for private health insurance plan options.
For more information regarding the Health Insurance Marketplace or help signing up, contact Layna Miller at Morgan County Health Department, 245-5111.
Warning for Parents: Synthetic Drugs!
A recent development regarding teen drug abuse is the appearance of various synthetic varieties of marijuana. Known by names such as Spice, K2, Black Mamba, and Red X Dawn, to name a few, these drugs are made with dry herbal material which has been sprayed with a synthetic chemical compound. Users smoke the compound as they would regular marijuana. One important difference is that the synthetic chemical compound which is used to produce the synthetic marijuana is more potent than THC, the active chemical found in regular marijuana. In addition, the effects of synthetic marijuana differ greatly from those of regular marijuana.
Synthetic marijuana is often marketed as incense, and is sold in convenience stores and smoke shops. A number of states, including Illinois, have banned these substances, although young people still obtain them. Hospital emergency room staff from around the country have witnessed an increase in patients under the influence of these drugs during the past three or four years.
There are a number of potential harmful effects associated with synthetic marijuana. These include a fast, racing heartbeat, elevated blood pressure, nausea, loss of consciousness, and paranoia. These drugs have also been linked to stroke, brain damage, and kidney damage.
Another new development is the emergence of a group of synthetic drugs known as "bath salts". These drugs contain chemicals that are similar to amphetamines. The drugs appear in powder form, resembling legal bathing products, plant food, and jewelry cleaner, but are chemically different from actual bath salts. These drugs can be swallowed, snorted, smoked or injected. Negative effects include headaches, heart palpitations, nausea, hallucinations, paranoia, panic attacks, violent behavior, heart attack, kidney failure, and suicide.
Since these synthetic drugs are relatively new, hospital emergency room workers may have difficulty diagnosing emergency room patients who are under the influence of these drugs. In some cases, emergency room personnel have only been able to make an accurate diagnosis after contacting the local or regional poison control center. This process takes time, and may delay providing the patient with the necessary treatment.
This information is provided to local parents and others by the Morgan County Area Consortium on Prevention, an interagency organization which addresses issues associated with teen drug abuse in the Morgan County area. For further information, please contact Bruce Richards or Heather Sweet at (217) 243-1871,
PUBLIC HEALTH ADMINISTRATOR POSITION
Morgan County is seeking a full time Public Health Administrator for the Morgan County Health Department.
Applicants must be certified or qualified to be certified as a Public Health Administrator by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Morgan County has a population of 36,000. The Morgan County Health Department has an annual budget of approximately 1.3 million.
Interested parties may submit a resume of experience and qualification with references by 4:30 pm central time on November 15, 2013 to Morgan County Health Department, c/o Morgan County Board of Health, 345 W. State St., Jacksonville, IL, 62650. Applicants should be available to assume the position on January 1, 2014. Employees must reside in Morgan County within six (6) months of date of hire.
Morgan County Health Department is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Avoiding Tickborne Disease
Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, tularemia, ehrlichiosis
SPRINGFIELD – As the weather warms up and people spend more time outdoors, it’s important to take precautions against tick bites and the illnesses they can carry, like Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, tularemia and ehrlichiosis. Tickborne diseases can cause mild symptoms, severe infections requiring hospitalization and even death. Last year in Illinois, preliminary numbers show 50 cases of ehrlichiosis, four cases of tularemia, 204 cases of Lyme disease and 151 cases of Rock Mountain spotted fever, which included one death.
“Diagnosing tickborne illness is based largely on the patient’s knowledge that they’ve been bitten by a tick and the signs and symptoms of illness,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck. “While antibiotics can treat illnesses due to tick bites, it’s best to avoid tick bites altogether by taking some simple precautions.”
Recommendations to avoid tick bites:
If you do find a tick, on yourself, others or pets, remove it promptly. The best way to remove a tick is to grasp it with fine-point tweezers as close to the skin as possible and gently, but firmly, pull it straight out. Do not twist or jerk the tick. Wash the bite area and your hands thoroughly with soap and water and apply an antiseptic to the bite site.
Within two weeks following a tick bite, if you experience a rash that looks like a bull's-eye, or a rash anywhere on your body, or an unexplained illness accompanied by fever following, call your doctor. The most common symptoms of tick-related illnesses can include fever, chills, aches and pains, and rash. Early recognition and treatment of the infection decreases the risk of serious complications.
More information about preventing tick bites and disease can be found at http://www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/pccommonticks.htm.
Avoid Possible Exposure to Rabies by Avoiding
Bats and Wild Animals
Eight bats test positive for rabies so far this year
SPRINGFIELD – Bats are starting to become more active, which means the possibility of exposure to rabies is increasing. Bats are the primary carrier of rabies in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has already had eight bats test positive for rabies this year.
“Never try to approach or catch a bat, or any wild animal, you find outside. Bats and wild animals that let people approach them are often not healthy,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck. “Instead, call your local animal control agency for its recommendations on how to handle the animal.”
In 2012, 63 bats tested positive for rabies in Illinois. Four percent of all bats tested last year were positive for rabies, which is average in Illinois. Any wild mammal, such as raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes and bats, can have rabies and transmit it to humans.
Rabies is a virus that affects the nervous system. People can get rabies after being bitten by an infected animal. Rabies can also be contracted when saliva from a rabid animal gets directly into a person’s eyes, nose, mouth or a wound. People usually know when they have been bitten by a bat, but bats have very small teeth and the bite mark may not be easy to see. If you find yourself in close proximity to a bat and are not sure if you were exposed, for example – you wake up and find a bat in your room, do not kill or release the bat before calling your doctor or local health department to help determine if you could have been exposed to rabies and need preventive treatment. If the bat is available for testing and test results are negative, preventive treatment is not needed.
Without preventive treatment, rabies is typically fatal. If you have been bitten or have had direct contact with a bat, seek immediate medical attention. Treatment with rabies immune globulin and a vaccine series must begin quickly.
An animal does not have to be aggressive or exhibit other symptoms to have rabies. Changes in any animal’s normal behavior can be early signs of rabies. A bat that is active during the day, found on the ground or is unable to fly, is more likely than others to be rabid. Such bats are often easily approached, but should never be handled.
The following tips can help prevent the spread of rabies:
Information about keeping bats out of your home or buildings can be found by logging on to www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/pcbats.htm.
Information about rabies can be found at www.idph.state.il.us/health/infect/reportdis/rabies.htm.
WE NEED YOU!!!
A disaster can strike anywhere, whether it’s a hazardous material or weapons of mass destruction or a natural disaster like a tornado or flood. Problems arising from emergencies and disasters pose a threat to human health, well-being, and survival.
In the event of a disaster, the health department would need volunteers to help us help the citizens of Morgan County. We will need medical staff as well as support and environmental staff. If you would be interested in being on our list, please fill out the Volunteer application and send it to us.
Click here for the Volunteer Application.
Thank you for your support!