Monday Gov. Pat Quinn visited the Illinois Eye Institute, the primary clinical training facility for aspiring optometrists attending the Illinois College of Optometry, located in the Bronzeville community. Quinn toured the IEI clinic, greeted patients in the pediatrics department and met with ICO leaders to discuss institute’s role as a leading provider of vision care in Illinois for patients part of the state-funded Medicaid program
The IEI is one of the country’s largest providers of vision and eye care services, serving more than 100,000 patients each year, according to the organization. The clinic reportedly provides 13,000 glasses each year to Medicaid patients, the majority of whom are children.
“I had the opportunity today to tour the Illinois Eye Institute, a clinic on Chicago's South Side that plays a critical role in providing eye care to Illinois Medicaid patients. During the visit I saw firsthand the critical Medicaid services they provide to some of our most vulnerable citizens. My administration has worked very hard to put the Medicaid program on sound footing so that it is there to serve those who need it most,” said Quinn.
During his visit, the governor was asked about the recent changes to Medicaid and the SMART Act. Quinn signed the legislation in the hopes of making Medicaid more sustainable, he said.
State health officials report that currently many Medicaid-eligible patients are without care because they are confused about the re-enrollment process. IEI advocated for clear communication about these changes to ensure access to vision care for underserved Illinois residents, according to organization officials.