03242021HAO0592SPRINGFIELD – After seeing the stress social isolation put on residents of long-term care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Tom Cullerton (D- Villa Park) has sponsored a measure to require long-term care facilities to help residents have daily communication with their family when a disaster is declared. 

“I’m sure we all felt the effects of isolation during this pandemic, but for people in long-term care facilities, those feelings were even more intense,” Cullerton said. “If anything like this happens again, ensuring residents of these homes have a connection to their loved ones must be a priority.”

According to a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, more than one-third of adults aged 45 and older report feeling lonely, and nearly one-fourth of adults aged 65 and older are considered to be socially isolated. COVID-19 has only exacerbated these statistics.

House Bill 3147 would require long-term care facilities to make every reasonable effort to facilitate at least one phone or video call between a resident and a family member each day during a disaster declared by the governor, unless doing so could pose a danger to residents or staff, or redirects resources away from direct resident care and protection.

The measure also requires hospitals to develop a contact policy to encourage patients to engage with family members during a pandemic or public health emergency.

The measure passed the Senate Health Committee and now moves to the floor for further consideration.

lasalle pic1VILLA PARK – Following the release of a report from the Office of the Inspector General on the COVID-19 outbreak at the state-run LaSalle Veterans Home in November 2020, State Senator Tom Cullerton (D- Villa Park) called for hearings to further investigate the issue, discuss the obvious mistakes that occurred and how to move forward.

“It breaks my heart and I can’t imagine what the loved ones of those lost during this outbreak must be feeling,” said Cullerton, chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. “This report will give me, my colleagues and our veterans’ families an opportunity to seek understanding of what occurred plus offer clarity on what can be done to prevent this situation in the future.” 

From late October to December 2020, more than 200 veterans and staff at the LaSalle Veterans Home tested positive for COVID-19, resulting in 36 deaths. When the state learned of the outbreak, the Veterans Affairs Committee held multiple hearings with witnesses from the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to determine what went wrong.

Following the outbreak, IDVA director Linda Chapa LaVia stepped down and was replaced by Terry Prince, a 31-year Navy veteran who was also superintendent of the Ohio Veterans’ Homes, as acting IDVA director. 

“Now that this report is out, we will hold hearings with the Veterans Affairs Committee to discuss these findings,” Cullerton said. “It is incredibly important that legislators have the opportunity to ask questions on this report. I spoke with the Governor this morning plus IDVA Director Prince late last night and was assured their teams would be helpful and responsive during these hearings. We can never bring these veterans back, but we can find answers. We owe it to their families and the veteran community to provide transparency and assurances that we cannot let this happen again.

The full OIG report on the fall 2020 COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home can be found here.

 

work zone 2VILLA PARK – It is Work Zone Awareness Week, and State Senator Tom Cullerton (D- Villa Park) is encouraging  drivers to slow down and drive carefully when they see the orange signs and lights that indicate a work zone.

“As temperatures warm up and construction gets underway across the state, it is important that travelers are aware of construction projects in their community,” Cullerton said. “Slowing down and moving over can keep you and construction workers safe.”

Illinois averages 6,400 crashes in work zones each year, resulting in 1,700 injuries and 34 deaths. When it comes to deaths associated with accidents in work zones, more than nine out of ten are someone other than a worker, including drivers, passengers, pedestrians and bicyclists.

To recognize those who have die in work zone-related accidents and to remind drivers to be careful in these areas, Governor JB Pritzker proclaimed April 26-30 as Work Zone Awareness Week with the theme of “Drive Safe. Work Safe. Save Lives.” The week aligns with National Work Zone Awareness Week.

“The men and women who work in these areas do so much to keep our roads and bridges safe and drivable,” Cullerton said. “Keep them and yourselves safe by taking your time, utilizing detours and paying attention.”

Visit the Illinois Department of Transportation’s website for more information on work zones throughout the state and tips on being safe in these areas. 

Senator Cullerton

SPRINGFIELD – As rates of suicide and depression among young people rise, State Senator Tom Cullerton (D- Villa Park) advanced a measure that would ensure suicide prevention information is readily available to college students.

“Crisis lines are such an important resource to those struggling with their mental health,” Cullerton said. “Something as simple as providing this information on a student ID card, which most college students are carrying around all day anyway, could save a life.”

The measure would require any public institution of higher education that issues student ID cards to publish the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the Crisis Text Line on the back of each card as well on their website.

According to the CDC, between 2007 and 2018, suicide rates for people aged 10-24 increased by 57.4%. Additionally, a CDC survey taken in June of 2020 found that one in four young people aged 18-24 reported seriously considering suicide over the 30-day period.

“College students had a unique set of struggles during this unprecedented year,” Cullerton said. “This combined with the already high rates of suicide in young people calls for action in getting students the resources they need to hopefully prevent a tragedy.”

Senate Bill 2014 passed the Senate and now moves to the House for further consideration.

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CONTACT SENATOR CULLERTON

Welcome to the official website of Senator Tom Cullerton. Please fill out our contact form to contact Senator Cullerton directly or you may call either of our offices. We look forward to hearing from you.

District Office
338 S. Ardmore Ave.
Villa Park, IL 60181
P: (630) 903-6662
F: (630) 903-6643

Springfield Office
122 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
P: (217) 782-9463