Durbin Meets With New CEO Of Advocate Health

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today met with Gene Woods, the new CEO of Advocate Health, to discuss the care provided by the health system in Illinois, and efforts to support the health care workforce while delivering high-quality services to patients.  They discussed Durbin’s Chicago HEAL Initiative, which Advocate has been involved with since 2018 in a collaborative effort across hospitals to address the root causes of violence.  Advocate Health has participated in the HEAL Initiative, partnering with University of Chicago on the South Side to provide grants to community organizations to prevent violence; operating “Trauma Recovery Centers” for victims of violence to prevent re-injury and retaliation; and establishing pipeline programs to recruit community residents into health care careers.

During their meeting, Durbin and Mr. Woods also spoke about how health care workforce staffing crises and shortages are impacting the ability to adequately meet the needs of patients.  To help address the shortage, Durbin secured $1 billion in the American Rescue Planfor scholarship and loan repayment awards through the National Health Service Corps and Nurse Corps to build a more diverse pipeline of clinicians and recruit more health providers to serve in shortage areas.  To ensure that more nursing professionals can enter the workforce, Durbin also introduced the bipartisan Nurse Faculty Shortage Reduction Act to provide a federal wage differential for the salary gap between clinical nursing and nurse faculty roles – to help fill desperately needed nurse faculty positions across the country and educate more nurses.   

“Our health care workers risk their own health and face burnout in order to care forpatients.  We depend on these doctors, nurses, and other critical health professionals, but they are being stretched thin and our system is facing shortages,” said Durbin.  “In my meeting with Advocate Health CEO Gene Woods today, we spoke about how the federal government can help bolster the health care workforce to ensure patients have access to the best care possible, and how Advocate is committed to serving communities in Illinois.”

A photo of the meeting is available here.