EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. – State Rep. LaToya Greenwood, D-East St. Louis, recently passed House Bill 4645 to bolster minority representation in health care and combat disproportionate quality of care across underserved communities.
“Historically, people in underserved communities have had a hard time getting good health care. They have doctors and nurses who are very different from them and the disconnect this creates causes problems,” Greenwood said. “I want to be clear: my legislation is not a critique of current health care providers who are so dedicated and who help so many people. However, in the professional health care community, we have a representation problem that needs to be corrected for the sake of the patients.”
House Bill 4645 creates two new programs: the Health Care Workforce Repayment Program and the Equity and Representation in Health Care Workforce Scholarship Program. These programs prioritize scholarship and loan repayment to individuals from underrepresented communities who are pursuing health care careers. Making education more affordable in those communities makes these careers more accessible—especially for low-income candidates. This legislation passed the House with robust bipartisan support and is now being considered in the Senate.
“Everyone in Illinois deserves the highest quality of health care at an affordable price,” Greenwood said. “No person should be shortchanged on their health because of the circumstances of their birth. While no single bill will fully set this issue straight, I am confident my legislation will make a significant positive impact for countless Illinoisans.”