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Silverstein bill to protect volunteer medical professionals receives governor’s signature

Published: Thursday, July 16, 2015 12:00 AM

silverstein-samaritan-mapSPRINGFIELD – In March, State Senator Ira Silverstein (D–Chicago) proposed Senate Bill 1498, which would include members of the Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps, a federal organization, into the Good Samaritan Act. Tuesday, Governor Rauner signed the bill into law.

“These individuals are willing to administer medical services free of any charges or fees; they should not have to worry about civil liabilities in response to the care they give,” Silverstein said. “We can’t punish these folks who are offering their time purely for the benefit of others.”

The Good Samaritan Act provides that medical or health care professionals who administer treatment, diagnosis, advice or services as part of a free medical clinic will be not be liable for civil damages as a result of their treatment.

Under Silverstein’s measure, volunteers with the Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps will be included into the definition of health professionals who would be exempt from civil charges. The Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps is a national network of local groups of over 200,000 volunteers that focuses on helping their local communities remain healthy and prepared for responding to emergencies.

Tens of thousands forced from their homes, left without care

Published: Tuesday, July 14, 2015 04:41 PM

Tens of thousands forced from their homes, left without careSPRINGFIELD — Substantial and detrimental changes to state-provided in-home or long-term care may be on the way under a new plan proposed by the governor. If it is enacted, nearly 40,000 seniors enrolled in the Community Care Program alone will be forced out of their homes and into nursing home facilities.

To decide whether or not a person is eligible to receive services, such as a home health aide or admission to a nursing home, state agencies use a Determination of Need (DON) score. It’s a tool designed to assess the level and type of need in order to provide the best and most efficient care to older adults and persons with disabilities.

The governor has proposed raising the threshold citizens would need in order to receive care from state programs. With these changes in place, the minimum score to qualify for assistance would increase to 37 from 29. Many people who rely on these services to live and provide for their families are fearing for the future and the future of their families.

Tom Cullerton’s environmentally friendly initiative signed into law

Published: Tuesday, July 14, 2015 04:25 PM

Tom Cullerton's environmentally friendly initiative signed into lawSPRINGFIELD - State agencies will soon be taking steps to become more environmentally friendly.

A new law sponsored by State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) will require state agencies that are responsible for public land to examine policies to see if composting materials would help reduce storm water run-off and improve the quality of the land.

“Composting is an effective method to stop pollution, cut costs and clean up contamination,” said Cullerton. “It’s our duty to continue to look for methods to protect Illinois’ ecosystem. Every small step we take makes a huge difference for generations to come.”

McGuire defends Illinois State Museum, Lockport Gallery from closing

Published: Tuesday, July 14, 2015 04:19 PM

McGuire defends Illinois State Museum, Lockport Gallery from closingSPRINGFIELD – Sen. Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) spoke out Monday at the State Capitol against the closing of the Illinois State Museum and its Lockport Gallery. Gov. Bruce Rauner has ordered the state museum system permanently shut down, blaming Illinois’ budget impasse.

McGuire, State Rep. Emily McAsey (D-Lockport) and Lockport Mayor Steve Streit together gave testimony to the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability. Pointing to the $6.3 million annual budget of the main museum in Springfield and its five branches, McGuire said, “Rarely is something essential a bargain, but the Illinois State Museum truly is.” McGuire emphasized that the museum’s 13.5 million historical artifacts “are already paid for, already in hand” and possess great educational and research value.

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