ROMEOVILLE, Ill. – Healthcare advocates are honoring state Rep. Dagmara “Dee” Avelar, D-Bolingbrook, with the James Monroe Smith Founder Award, for her work helping connect uninsured patients in Illinois hospitals with sources of coverage and financial aid.
“Programs that help vulnerable patients maintain crucial access to health care services only work if the people they’re designed to help know about them. But we’ve seen that, unfortunately, hospitals were sometimes not informing patients of ways to save on their medical bills,” Avelar said. “That’s why we stepped up to make sure all hospitals have a legal duty to help patients afford the care they need.”
The Legal Council for Health Justice is recognizing Avelar for her work passing House Bill 2719, which requires Illinois hospitals to proactively screen uninsured patients and notify them if they qualify for health coverage or financial aid programs, rather than waiting for the patient to request a screening.
Avelar’s bill became law on July 28 after being signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
Avelar will be presented with the award during Legal Council’s annual “Summer Soirée” event, to be held Aug. 17 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Sidetrack, 3849 N. Halsted in Chicago.
“I introduced this bill, but it wouldn’t be right not to recognize the work done every day on more issues than just this one by the Legal Council and organizations like them,” Avelar said. “So much of what we do as legislators is informed and improved thanks to advocates and stakeholders who also deserve to be recognized. This award is an honor, and I’m looking forward to getting back to business and continuing to move Illinois forward.”