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Medicaid problems healed through collaborative policy solution

052714CM0504SPRINGFIELD – Many Illinoisans will see the Medicaid problems they experienced this year under a new law addressed and adjusted in legislation sponsored by State Senator Donne Trotter (D – Chicago) and his colleagues. The law restores non-diabetic podiatric (foot-care) services and restorative dental care, removes limitations on rehabilitative services and gives children with complex needs access to the medicine they need to function and remain comfortable.

It took a cooperative effort between legislators and nursing home, managed care, hospital and community provider industries to reach the policy solution known as the Medicare-Medicaid Alignment Initiative (MMAI).

“It was only through the collaborative efforts of lawmakers, agencies, care providers and the people who are going to be directly affected by the law, that we can found the right answers to the right questions and, in this case, restored essential medical services people need,” Sen. Trotter said. “Complications with one’s health are tough enough to handle. They do not need to be made worse by complicated health care policy.”  

The law provides policy guidance for Medicaid managed care, a hospital finance plan for the next four years and rate reform for both the hospital and nursing home industries. The new law finally provides leadership in ensuring parity with the Affordable Care Act in Illinois as well.

The new law will inject $622.5 million into the state’s health care system, much of the funding ($400 million) provided through an initiative of the Affordable Care Act.

Senate Bill 741 was signed into law today and takes effect immediately.

New law raises money for Illinois Special Olympics

HUnterGoldLottery061314State Senator Mattie Hunter’s (D-Chicago) plan to help support the Special Olympics with a new lottery ticket will be signed into law today. The measure secures money for Olympians and children with Olympic aspirations.

“The ‘Go for the Gold’ lottery ticket will raise much-needed dollars to fund statewide training programs and competitions for Special Olympic Athletes,” Hunter said. “Some of the money will also help our next generation of Olympians by supporting the Special Children’s Charities Fund.”

The scratch-off is the latest of a series of Hunter-sponsored lottery tickets. The measure creates two funds and secures 75 percent of the money for adults and 25 percent for the children’s fund.

Senate Bill 219 passed the General Assembly on May 30th. It will go into effect on July 1st.

Sullivan legislation assists county 911 centers

053014 js 0582SPRINGFIELD – Legislation sponsored in the Senate by State Senator John Sullivan (D-Rushville) that gives financial assistance to 911 services in small, rural counties was recently signed by the governor. The Illinois Commerce Commission forecasts that this measure would give the emergency phone system in every county with fewer than 100,000 people on average an extra $24,000 per year.

House Bill 2453 directs more money to emergency phone services without raising the existing monthly 73 cent fee on cell phones in downstate counties.

"911 call centers in rural counties face daunting financial challenges as they provide emergency call services in geographically large counties that are not densely populated. This legislation gives them additional resources without raising wireless rates for their customers," Sullivan said.

The new law redirects a portion of the current 73 cent fee on cell phones away from the wireless carriers and to 911 systems. An additional 2 cents goes to counties with less than 100,000 people which includes all 11 counties in Sullivan's district.

Sullivan helps break ground on Colchester library repairs

On June 12, State Senator John Sullivan joined Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White and local officials during the groundbreaking ceremony for upcoming improvements to the Colchester District Library. The Illinois State Library awarded a $35,000 Live and Learn Construction Grant to repair the building's exterior.

The library is currently fundraising to upgrade the building's interior.

White, besides being the secretary of state, also serves as the state librarian.

(click photos to enlarge)