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Castro to file legislation that will smooth process of investigations

castro 092017SPRINGFIELD – Needless bureaucratic hurdles are slowing ethics investigations and need to be removed, state Senator Cristina Castro said in filing legislation to streamline the process.

“We have a skilled investigator on the job. We need to empower her to do that job and deliver results quickly,” said Castro, an Elgin Democrat and the newest member of the Legislative Ethics Commission.

Here’s the problem with the current system.

Hastings urges federal leaders to stand up against attack on net neutrality

net neutralityTINLEY PARK- State Senator Michael Hastings (D-Tinley Park) has joined the fight to keep federal net neutrality rules in place.

Hastings filed Senate Resolution 1117 which urges President Donald Trump and members of the United States Congress to continue to protect net neutrality and open internet access.

“Big money utility companies should not have the power to obstruct our access to information,” Hastings said. “I will not stand by as Trump’s administration continues its attacks on our democracy and freedom.

Manar tours Pana Community Hospital

PCH11292017 3PANA – Senator Andy Manar toured Pana Community Hospital and the site of its $20.1 million expansion project, currently under construction.

The visit was part of his district-wide health care listening tour, during which he met with local hospital leaders to learn more about the challenges they face in providing health care in central Illinois, as well as suggestions they have for regulatory changes that could be addressed through legislation.

“I continue to be impressed by the hard work, innovation and leadership that occur every day at Pana Community Hospital,” Manar said. “The institution’s roots in Pana run deep, and I’m excited that it continues to expand and invest in the people who live here by offering the finest health care, good-paying jobs and excellent community stewardship.”

Manar met with Trina Casner, hospital president and CEO; James Moon, hospital chief financial officer; Carol Schramm, hospital board chairman; and Dave Slater, hospital board member.

Casner led Manar on a tour of the hospital and the site where workers have begun construction of an addition to the hospital, its first major expansion in decades.

“We’re thankful Senator Manar took the time to visit Pana Community Hospital and appreciate his support of rural health care providers,” Casner said. “It is important to be able to sit down with our elected officials to voice concerns and struggles we face in providing quality health care in a rural setting. It was also exciting to share plans for our building project and show the senator our plans for the future.”

Manar visited the hospital on Nov. 29.

The tour, which included stops at every hospital and federally qualified health center in the 48th Senate District, highlighted the importance of rural health care in Illinois and called attention to the need for continued investment in this vital sector of the economy.

Significant topics of discussion among the hospitals and clinics were:

  • issues with implementation of the state’s Medicaid managed care program;
  • staffing and recruitment challenges, particularly with regard to a shortage of specialists, nurses and medical technicians in rural areas;
  • telehealth, especially a desire for more telepsychiatry and the current use of teleneurology assessments for stroke patients;
  • changes to the federal tax plan and a possible fiscal cliff, and how each could affect federally qualified health centers in central Illinois that rely on federal funding to operate;
  • the ongoing need for better access to adult and child dental care;
  • the effects of the Affordable Care Act on rural and downstate health care, the gains hospitals and clinics have made under the ACA and the negative implications that a roll-back could have on the delivery of services and employment in the region.

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By the numbers

According to the Illinois Hospital Association, hospitals in the 48th Senate District employ 9,043 full-time equivalent employees and have a combined payroll of nearly $685 million.

More than 22,000 additional jobs are created as a result of hospitals operating in the district.

Hospital spending on payroll, other goods and services, and capital projects – combined with the additional jobs the institutions support – have a total economic impact of $4.15 billion on the 48th Senate District and on the state economy.

Stadelman: Congressman Anderson was a true public servant

stadelman 031517ROCKFORD – State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) released the statement below following the passing of former Congressman John Anderson.

“John Anderson was the true embodiment of a public servant. As a member of the Greatest Generation, he joined the Army and fought to protect our country during World War II.

“As a congressman and presidential candidate, he had a proven track record of being an independent, bipartisan voice for the Rockford community. Even after he retired from the public life, he continued to work toward bipartisan reforms to improve our election process.

“We could all learn a little from Congressman Anderson in this particularly partisan environment. My thoughts and prayers will continue to be with his family during this difficult time.”