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Rauner appoints two HGOP legislators to posts in past few days

Monday, Jul 2, 2018

* Press release…

Gov. Rauner announced today that Patricia R. “Patti” Bellock has been named director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS). Bellock has served in the General Assembly since 1999 and is recognized as one of the body’s leading advocates for Medicaid, health care and social services, areas she will oversee in her new role.

“Illinois is so fortunate to have an advocate for health and human services as dedicated and talented as Patti Bellock,” said Rauner in announcing the appointment. “She has been instrumental in virtually every health advancement our state has made in the last two decades and I am looking forward to her leadership of the state’s ongoing effort to reform our delivery systems and improve our outcomes.”

Bellock is retiring from the House of Representatives where she became the first woman to serve as Deputy Minority Leader in 2013. She replaces interim DHFS Director Teresa Hursey who stepped in last month when Felicia Norwood left for the private sector. Hursey will remain as Medicaid Director.

Bellock helped to shepherd the recent approval of Better Care Illinois, the state’s landmark 1115 Medicaid waiver approved earlier this year for 10 pilot programs in mental health and substance abuse.

She is known for her bipartisan, collaborative style as a member of two other Medicaid-related groups moving legislation forward to approve the Hospital Assessment and the Omnibus Medicaid bill. She has effectively co-led efforts in the General Assembly in recent years to move Illinois toward managed care. Her extensive work on Medicaid reform in Illinois has been recognized by the Wall Street Journal.

“It is an honor to join the talented and dedicated staff of the Department of Healthcare and Family Services,” Bellock said. “I look forward to working with the Governor and my colleagues in the General Assembly to ensure access to quality health care for Illinois’ most vulnerable population and making our health care delivery systems more efficient and effective.”

Bellock’s distinguished 20-year legislative career had a decided emphasis on health and human services. She was the Minority spokesperson on both the House Human Services Committee and the Human Services – Appropriations Committee. She has also served on committees with three different national organizations working on health care legislation and public policy issues throughout the United States.

Bellock’s signature achievement in the General Assembly was the landmark Save Medicaid Access and Resources Together (SMART) Act reforms of 2012. She served as Chairperson of the Medicaid Reform, Family & Children Committee from 2009-2011 under Speaker Madigan; the group which started the work on improving Illinois’ Medicaid program that culminated with passage of comprehensive reforms in 2012.

Bellock was Chief Co-Sponsor of a 2007 law to protect the health of people in hospitals, nursing homes and mental health facilities against infection by requiring the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to create rules to reduce rates of multi-drug resistant organisms (MDROs), and other “super bugs.”

The law requires healthcare facilities regulated or licensed by the state, as well as mental health and developmentally disabled facilities overseen by the state to perform annual facility-wide infection control risk assessments; develop infection control policies for Multi-drug resistant organisms (MDRO’s); enforce hand hygiene and contact precaution requirements and incorporate any updated MDRO prevention and control recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A native of River Forest, Bellock graduated from Saint Norbert College in Wisconsin, where she received a bachelor’s degree in History and American Government. She has received dozens of awards over the years from numerous organizations for her work on various health care policy issues, particularly in the areas of mental health, developmental disabilities, and children’s health.

The appointment is effective July 11, 2018.

* From last week…

Gov. Bruce Rauner today named retiring Illinois State Representative Robert W. Pritchard to the Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees. Pritchard is a long-time education advocate and a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, whose work in the General Assembly was focused on elementary, secondary and higher education.

“Bob is a very strong addition to the NIU Board,” Rauner said. “He has a working knowledge of the challenges that face higher education and he is well equipped to advocate for the university, its students and the public-at-large on issues ranging from affordability to access.”

Pritchard’s appointment takes effect on July 1, 2018, the same day he retires from the Illinois House of Representatives where he served the 70th Legislative District for more than 15 years.

A recognized leader in education policy, Pritchard was a key contributor to the passage of the state’s new K-12 school funding formula, which increased state levels of school funding and made distributions to school districts more equitable.

His work with the bicameral Higher Education Working Group focused on issues of outmigration and affordability in Illinois higher education and resulted in significant legislation this spring. Pritchard was instrumental in forming the bipartisan Legislative Education Caucus in 2005.

A self-employed farm owner, operator and manager, Pritchard is responsible for a DeKalb county farming operation that is in its sixth generation of family ownership. The corn and soybean operation has doubled in size under his leadership.

“I feel strongly that education beyond high school is an essential component in developing Illinois’ workforce and making the state attractive to employers,” Pritchard said. “NIU – in partnership with local community colleges – prepares students to achieve their dreams and be contributing members of our economy.”

“It has been a pleasure to represent NIU and advocate for the interests of students, faculty, and all higher education institutions throughout my tenure in the House of Representatives. I look forward to continued service to the region and Illinois in my new role as a NIU trustee.”

Pritchard’s wife Mary is a lifelong educator who spent most of her career at Northern Illinois University as a teacher, administrator, and Interim Dean.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

23 Comments
  1. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 2, 18 @ 11:17 am:

    ===“It has been a pleasure to represent NIU and advocate for the interests of students, faculty, and all higher education institutions throughout my tenure in the House of Representatives. I look forward to continued service to the region and Illinois in my new role as a NIU trustee.”===

    Hmm.

    In the 99th General Assembly… there was a blocking for the entire sitting of that GA of full funding for higher education.

    I wouldn’t call Mr. Prichard, a sitting Raunerite in that GA…

    ===“…well equipped to advocate for the university, its students and the public-at-large on issues ranging from affordability to access.”===

    Nope. Sorry.

    He was frustrated, but taking steps to reform Illinois was more important… higher education suffered at the hands of Raunerites, especially the 99th GA Raunerites.


  2. - Frank talks - Monday, Jul 2, 18 @ 11:36 am:

    Does Bellock get a pension bump being Tier One and having 20 years in? Will she get 85% of final salary based off GA plus leadership stipend or based off DHS Director?


  3. - Norseman - Monday, Jul 2, 18 @ 11:36 am:

    As an NIU alum, OW +1


  4. - Publius - Monday, Jul 2, 18 @ 12:16 pm:

    I thought he was going to drain the swamp

    Oops got Rauner confused trump

    But he did say he was going to run things differently, just look at all the legislators that received jobs from him from day one. Same ole same ole

    I was in a small meeting with JB last week and I sure wish everyone could be in that setting with him. The excitement in his thoughts and his knowledge on the subject were inspiring. Inspiration is what is lacking in campaigns today.

    30 second commercials can not translate inspiration effectively


  5. - Huh? - Monday, Jul 2, 18 @ 12:16 pm:

    Frank- if bellock stays at DHFS for a year, she will qualify for a Tier 1 SERS pension under the reciprocal pension act provided she doesn’t take her GA pension.


  6. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 2, 18 @ 12:19 pm:

    More pld-timey public payroll-to public payroll politics by Rauner for his cronies.

    Munger and Dunk spring immediately to mind, as well.

    Sure is shakin’ things up.


  7. - Wondering Wendy - Monday, Jul 2, 18 @ 12:36 pm:

    Rep Bellock is one of the few legislators I have worked with over the years who actually does care about her constituents and what happens to them. I think she is a good pick for that new position.


  8. - walker - Monday, Jul 2, 18 @ 1:07 pm:

    Both are exceptionally good people.


  9. - Demoralized - Monday, Jul 2, 18 @ 1:12 pm:

    Rep. Bellock was a good choice.

    But, this sort of behavior kind of flies in the face of the cronyism the Governor is always lamenting about doesn’t it?


  10. - Annonin' - Monday, Jul 2, 18 @ 1:22 pm:

    Wasn’t GovJunk last GA promotion John Anthong to DOC? That went well


  11. - blue dog dem - Monday, Jul 2, 18 @ 1:26 pm:

    I tried my darndest to find. Does a trustee at NIU draw a salary?


  12. - Demoralized - Monday, Jul 2, 18 @ 1:31 pm:

    ==Does a trustee at NIU draw a salary?==

    No


  13. - Ethics watcher - Monday, Jul 2, 18 @ 1:34 pm:

    Interesting pick. Last month, Rep Bullock showed up in an OEIG opinion. She was caught arranging a meeting between a lobbyist and HFS leadership to steer contracts to specific vendors that didn’t like HFS’ attempt to competitively bid the supplies. I wonder if she’ll competitively bid the contract now that she runs the agency.

    See page 4 here:
    https://www2.illinois.gov/oeig/investigations/Documents/16-00897%20Hursey,%20Huston%20and%20Norwood.pdf


  14. - blue dog dem - Monday, Jul 2, 18 @ 1:38 pm:

    Thanks


  15. - Eire17 - Monday, Jul 2, 18 @ 2:02 pm:

    Patti was/is a fantastic legislator, a wonderful person to work with and one of a small group who was willing to dive into and learn about Medicaid issues long before many of her colleagues. I wish her and HFS the best.


  16. - Cosgrove - Monday, Jul 2, 18 @ 3:47 pm:

    On the Healthcare side, Bellock doesn’t believe women on Medicaid should have access to abortion care (she was a “no” vote on HB 40) and believes a legal medical procedure (abortion) accessed by ten of thousands of Illinois women a year should be illegal. On the Family Services side she doesn’t think LGBTQ familes should have the same legal rights as other families (she voted against marriage equality). And the good news is?


  17. - Frank talks - Monday, Jul 2, 18 @ 4:35 pm:

    So to be clear no pension spike for taking her last 6 months of work as director? Ive gotta guess if she can take years of service then use the director position as the pensionable amount based off of GA service that would be a really sweet deal?


  18. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Jul 2, 18 @ 6:19 pm:

    Frank, if you’re so worked up about this, Google Illinois Pensiin Code. Everything you need is right in there.


  19. - Anon - Monday, Jul 2, 18 @ 6:29 pm:

    Frank this has been going on for years. Yes its a benefit to them generally because their salary doubles.


  20. - Chad - Monday, Jul 2, 18 @ 6:33 pm:

    Ethics Watcher is right to point out the OEIG report. The report makes clear that an ongoing RFP to significantly reduce the cost of supplies the agency purchases was quashed by a lobbyist with legislative assistance. The report ignores the fact that the quashed RFP never was re-issued. The state loses million a year as a result. Will Bellock re-issue the RFP she asked Norwood to quash or allow the status quo to continue? To be clear, it was Norwood and not Bellock who violated statute by talking with vendors during the pendency of an RFP.


  21. - BlueDogDem - Monday, Jul 2, 18 @ 6:56 pm:

    Chad. Thanks for the clarification. This happened under governor Rauners watch? Clearly this is the actions of a fiscally conservative administration.


  22. - Chad - Monday, Jul 2, 18 @ 7:58 pm:

    Blue Dog: Read pages 3-5 of the report. Really explosive stuff.


  23. - Perrid - Monday, Jul 2, 18 @ 10:20 pm:

    HFS staff might have been the ones making the mistake by not reporting the conversations, but they at least were just having the conversations to save the state money. The state legislators, including Bellock, are the ones who tried to steer the contract. At least that’s my reading of events.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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