Community Health Report


The Partnership for a Connected Illinois (PCI), is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Springfield, Illinois. PCI’s mission is to maximize broadband’s impact and use, especially in providing access to healthcare through telehealth. The deployment and adoption of high-speed internet services and information technology will result in enhanced healthcare for the people of Illinois. Continued progress in the deployment and adoption of high-speed internet services and information technology is vital ensuring that Illinois remains competitive and continues to create business and job growth.


Working with other organizations, PCI provides education throughout the state on the ability of telehealth to improve access to healthcare and improve the quality of healthcare. PCI has focused many of its educational activities on identifying and serving underserved communities. PCI also recognizes local leaders who have used telehealth to care for these communities, many of whom address the concerns of underserved populations. Since 2018, PCI has focused much of its activity on the issues specifically facing Illinois youth who are not receiving needed behavioral health care. PCI conducted a demonstration project in five Chicago public schools on the use of telebehavioral health to address this lack of service. PCI works with local school and health care leaders to develop its programs. This proposal would allow PCI to launch pilots throughout the state exploring models that schools can use to supplement existing behavioral health services available to K-12 students.

Illinois Telehealth Law and Policy Forums. Since 2016, PCI has presented Illinois Telehealth Law and Policy Forums examining the telehealth landscape in Illinois and the broader Midwest. Over 2,200 people have attended these Forums. These Forums are designed by a Program Planning Committee of close to 60 people including lawyers, health care providers, insurers, professional organizations, trade associations, telehealth vendors and hospital systems. The Forums discussed over 50 topics listed on our website. The Forums provide education and networking opportunities for organizations interested in telehealth. The Forums feature interactive panel discussions on the current legal and regulatory environment for telehealth in Illinois, reimbursement trends and opportunities, and telemedicine delivery and business models. Many of these Forums addressed health equity issues.page1image36539648 page1image36538816

Excellence in Telehealth Leadership Awards. Since 2017, the ITI has held annual awards luncheons recognizing organizations and individuals who have demonstrated excellence in telehealth leadership in:

  • improving care for underserved populations,

  • improving policy changes to advance telehealth and

  • advancing telehealth by innovation.

    Over the last three years, awardees included:

    • Governor J.B. Pritzker for his Executive Order that supported massive expansion of telehealth during the COVID-19 Pandemic;

    • The coalition and sponsors behind the groundbreaking legislation that codified the Executive Order; and

    • Congresswoman Robin Kelly and Congressman Bobby Rush who were telehealth leaders in Congress.

      COVID-19 Pandemic Projects. In 2020 and 2021, the ITI organized twelve virtual forums attracting over 1400 participants covering telehealth during the pandemic and long-term care facilities, behavioral health, oncology and substance use disorder The ITI was invited to address 200 FDA staff on the development of telehealth in Illinois and to discuss how telehealth could be used for clinical trials. The ITI also joined the telehealth work group of the national COVID- 19 Healthcare Coalition where it shared its pandemic experience with organizations around the country.

      Telehealth Equity Leadership. Recognizing the need to take proactive efforts to avoid telehealth from continuing or even exacerbating health inequities, PCI recently prepared a concept paper on ideas for promoting equity in the adoption of telehealth. PCI joined the Telehealth Equity Coalition (TEC) which was recently formed to bring diverse stakeholders together to develop policies that are proactive for equity in telehealth.

      School Telebehavioral Health Demonstration Project. In 2018-19, the ITI organized a successful demonstration project of telebehavioral health in five Chicago Public Schools in underserved communities. The project identified financially sustainable business models in four CPS high schools and one elementary school, providing to more than 50 students behavioral health care by a distant provider. port.pdf

      Project to Engage School Leaders to Address the Mental Health Crisis for Students in Chicago K-12 Schools
      In 2021, three of the nation’s leading pediatric healthcare organizations declared a national emergency in children’s mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the reasons these organizations made this declaration was to “address regulatory challenges and improve access to technology to assure continued availability of telemedicine to provide mental health care to all population.” i PCI received funding to launch pilots around the state exploring online tools to address the Children’s Mental Health Emergency. PCI is currently in discussions with school districts, community behavioral health agencies and local governments on planning the launch of these pilots in September 2023 and January 2024.

Our project team, in collaboration with Aunt Martha’s and EverThrive, was funded by the Sprague Institute through April 2023 for initial efforts to research digital vendors, evaluate interest, and identify pilot opportunities. Outcomes include:

  • Engaged 50+ Illinois stakeholders, including state and federal legislators, foundations, public officials, etc,

  • Researched and vetted 20+ K12 digital health resource vendors, identified 6 strong options with differing offerings and business models,

  • Held over 40 initial discussions with school districts and behavioral health partner organizations to pilot these services in Fall ‘23 or in 2024,

  • Initiated possible pilots in Dewitt, DuPage, Kankakee, Madison, Peoria, & Saline Counties,

  • Presented our findings to the public in an April 11 webinar (240 registrants-flyer attached, link here),

  • Applied for additional grants (pending) to continue efforts.

  • page3image36311104page3image36311312

Partnership for a Connected Illinois 1337 Wabash Ave. Springfield, IL 62704 Phone: (217) 886-4228 Fax: (217) 718-4546