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State Senator Andy Manar met with representatives from area hospitals at the Capitol Thursday to learn more about initiatives they’ve undertaken to improve the quality of care they offer their patients, families and communities.

Thursday was the Illinois Hospital Association Quality Advocacy Showcase, now in its third year. Leaders from more than 90 hospitals and health systems statewide were on hand for the event.

Manar spoke with Mandy Sebeschak, respiratory services team leader, and Amanda Payne, performance excellence internal champion, from Hillsboro Area Hospital (pictured above) about an initiative at the hospital to prepare employees for what to do in an emergency involving an armed intruder.

04122018 Manar Hospitals 4 350Employees engaged in a realistic drill and learned such things as how to determine when to evacuate or when to hide, where to meet after evacuating the building, where to hide when sheltering in place, and what to arm themselves with while hiding.

Sebeschak and Payne said the hospital invested $3,000 in the training for an estimated savings of $18 million.

Manar also met with a representative of St. John’s Hospital about its initiatives to reduce health care-related Clostridium difficle infections.

And he learned from Kristy Cesaretti (pictured below), emergency department nurse manager at Taylorville Memorial Hospital, about the hospital’s efforts to manage aggressive patient behavior in the emergency department.

Additional hospitals in Senate District 48 represented at the showcase include:

  • St. Francis Hospital in Litchfield – eliminating health care-associated infections for 24 months;
  • St. Mary’s Hospital in Decatur – reducing falls for high-risk patients;
  • Hospital Sisters Health System – improving acute stroke care;
  • Memorial Medical Center in Springfield – reducing the length of stay with an expedited therapy consultation;
  • Memorial Medical Center Comprehensive Stroke Center – improving care for stroke patients across central Illinois;
  • Memorial Behavioral Health – improving access to appropriate behavioral health services; and
  • Memorial Health System – engaging patients and families in their care.


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Category: People of the 48th

SPRINGFIELD – Students from several area high school FFA chapters joined State Senator Andy Manar at the Illinois Capitol in Springfield this week.

The students were at the Capitol for Illinois Agriculture Legislative Day. This annual advocacy day brings FFA students, farm, agricultural commodity organizations and other ag interest groups to Springfield to meet state lawmakers, share the ag community’s priorities for the year and offer feedback about policies concerning agriculture, business, conservation, education and more.

Nokomis High School FFA chapter

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Taylorville High School FFA chapter

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Staunton High School FFA chapter

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Category: People of the 48th

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Prompted by Bunker Hill family’s advocacy efforts

SPRINGFIELD – Legislation to set aside May 17 of each year to raise awareness of a rare and incurable form of childhood brain cancer was approved Wednesday by the Illinois Senate.

The measure, sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), was prompted by the advocacy efforts of Bunker Hill mother Kim Skief, whose 11-year-old daughter, Grace, died from Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, or DIPG, in 2015.

The Senate approved the measure, Senate Bill 2254, 56-0. It was sent to the House for consideration.

“Grace’s story is a simple reminder that medical cures and care, sadly, are not guaranteed to all of us. That’s why I’m working with her mother to help raise awareness about this childhood cancer,” Manar said. “Although DIPG is rare, when it strikes it is painful, and unfortunately it is quick.”

DIPG is an aggressive form of cancer that targets children almost exclusively – about 300 each year in the United States. It affects the part of the brain that controls the heartbeat, breathing, swallowing, sight and eye movement, and balance. It is in operable, and the survival rate is less than 1 percent.

Grace Skief was a fifth-grader when she was diagnosed with DIPG in April 2015. She died three months later, on July 31, 2015.

Twenty other states have set aside May 17 to raise awareness of this heart-breaking childhood cancer and the lack of a cure for it.

Present in the Senate gallery during Wednesday’s vote were Kim Skief and her son, James, both of Bunker Hill; and Grace’s grandmother, Carol Robbins of Alton. Manar thanked them for their advocacy and their courage.

“Any number of things could happen after tragedy strikes a family, as we often see when families visit us in the Senate,” he said. “At the lowest point the Skief family somehow mustered the strength and courage to move on and make something positive out of what undoubtedly is the most difficult situation anybody could go through.”

For more information about DIPG, visit http://www.defeatdipg.org and http://www.cancer.gov.

Category: People of the 48th

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KINCAID – A pair of Democratic state senators visited a downstate coal plant to get a better picture of Illinois’ energy community.

Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and the new chairman of the Senate's Energy and Public Utilities Committee, Senator Michael Hastings of Tinley Park, toured the Kincaid Power Station on March 28.

Hastings said such visits help put his role as energy committee chairman into perspective.

“I’m a firm believer that the only way to make responsible and educated decisions is to go out to these communities and tour these facilities to ensure we craft policies that modernize and safeguard Illinois’ energy security,” he said. “As the new energy chairman, I’m eager to learn more and gain a complete picture on how the energy decisions we make in Springfield impact communities across our state.”

The Kincaid Power Station, owned by Dynegy, is operated by 144 employees, many of whom reside throughout Christian and Sangamon counties. The plant pays about $17 million annually in wages and benefits that support workers and their families.

“This tour is the first step in our partnership to fight to protect these power plants that serve as a vital economic asset in our communities and throughout the state of Illinois,” Manar said. “The coal industry has played an important role in the economic development of our communities, and we plan to keep it that way.”

Manar, a champion of downstate workers, facilitated the tour of the Kincaid plant to assist Hastings in his effort to better understand the state’s energy community. Specifically, Manar stressed the importance of power plants to his 48th Senate District, noting they support hundreds of jobs and generate billions of dollars in economic activity in downstate Illinois.

“Our state’s energy community has done a tremendous job ensuring Illinois has a competitive edge in our global economy,” Hastings said. “I look forward to coming up with policies to move us forward while protecting workers like those at the Kincaid Power Station.”

Manar had similar sentiments.

“I’m proud to show off the great work the employees at the Kincaid Power Plant do every day to help ensure the lights stay on in homes across Illinois,” Manar said.

Manar and Hastings plan to visit the Coffeen Power Station, also owned by Dynegy, in the coming weeks.

Category: People of the 48th