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State Representative Robyn Gabel () began her second week as a member of the Illinois General Assembly by passing  legislation to screen for risk factors associated with hepatitis and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) at nursing facilities.

“I look forward to this being the first of many important pieces of legislation I pass in the General Assembly,” Rep. Gabel said.  “This has the potential to help many nursing homes in the district reduce the cost of care and save lives.  I will continue working to ensure that Illinois is at the forefront of disease prevention.”  

Senate Bill 2601 aims to identify patients being admitted to nursing facilities for potential risk of hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.  Any high-risk patient would then be offered an opportunity to undergo laboratory testing if they are admitted to the nursing facility for at least seven days and are not known to be infected with any of the listed viruses. 

All HIV testing will be conducted in compliance with the AIDS Confidentiality Act and all patients determined to be susceptible to the hepatitis B virus will be offered immunization upon being admitted to any nursing facility. Additionally, the legislation requires nursing homes to document a resident’s screening for risk factors and whether or not the resident was immunized against hepatitis B.

“By encouraging hepatitis and HIV screenings we can protect seniors and improve public health,” Gabel said.  “We must continue looking for ways to be fiscally-responsible and forward-thinking when encouraging a healthier Illinois.  It is exciting to be able to get right to work and make a difference for the people of the 18th district.” 

SB 2601 has passed the Illinois House and Senate and now goes to the governor’s desk for further consideration.