SPRINGFIELD – Illinois physicians will not face discipline for recommendations they make to aggressively treat Lyme disease under a new law supported by State Senator Andy Manar.

The Illinois Senate on Thursday voted to override the governor’s veto of a bipartisan plan that permits Lyme disease sufferers to receive extended regimens of antibiotics under a physician’s care.

The plan clears the way for doctors to prescribe more aggressive treatments for Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses than are currently accepted under industry standards without facing disciplinary action by the state.

“Numerous people in my Senate district suffer from the life-altering effects of Lyme, and I believe this plan is a step in the right direction as we learn more about how to successfully treat the disease,” said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat who co-sponsored the measure in the Senate.

House Bill 4515 creates the Lauryn Russell Lyme Disease Prevention Act. It requires state officials to form a Lyme disease prevention and outreach program and establish a 12-member Lyme disease task force.

The bill passed in the spring with overwhelming support from both Democrats and Republicans in the General Assembly, but Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed it in August. This week lawmakers voted to override the governor – 110-0 in the House and 48-0 in the Senate.

There were 237 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in Illinois in 2016, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

11132018Manar350SPRINGFIELD – Illinois should reassess how it awards pre-K grants after school districts throughout central Illinois were unexpectedly rejected for money they’ve long relied upon to run their programs, State Senator Andy Manar said today.

“How can we ensure every student arrives at kindergarten ready to learn when the state is pulling the rug out from under school districts that are trying to help?” Manar said. “We have to ensure these grants get to the communities that need them the most so that we can continue to help the children who need it the most.”

School districts throughout Illinois earlier this year were denied pre-K grants by the Illinois State Board of Education without warning, even though they have been receiving the grants for years.

Bunker Hill CUSD 8 in Macoupin County is among those that were denied. Last year the district received $104,000 for its preschool program; this year it received $0. The district has received a pre-K grant since at least 1995, according to records.

Manar said the Illinois State Board of Education cut Bunker Hill’s pre-K funding by 100 percent with no warning and little explanation. Half of all students in the district are considered low income.

Studies show that early childhood education is vital to a lifetime of successful learning and that children from disadvantaged homes are less likely to attend preschool.

Manar noted that the abrupt decision by ISBE to change the way it awards early childhood grants undercuts priorities identified in school funding reform discussions, including equity, poverty and need. ISBE’s new process benefits wealthy school districts that can afford to pay consultants to write their grant applications, he added.

“Bunker Hill is not alone in this. Numerous rural and downstate communities are in the same boat, wondering how to move forward,” he said. “Like funding for K-12 schools, pre-K grants should be based on need, not on who wrote the best grant request.”

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar released the following statement about his appointment to governor-elect J.B. Pritzker’s budget transition team:

“This is a unique opportunity to lend a downstate perspective to the governor-elect’s transition team. I look forward to sharing my experiences and the priorities of the people I represent to make sure our new governor has the full picture and perspective of what’s needed to get our state back on track.”

Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat, is chairman of one of the Senate’s two budget committees.

MedicareMadeEasy650

Free counseling assistance is available locally through Dec. 7 for Medicare-eligible residents and their caregivers during the Medicare Open Enrollment period.

During open enrollment, eligible adults can adjust Medicare Advantage or Medicare prescription drug coverage, move from original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan – or vice versa, switch between Medicare Advantage plans, join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, or switch or drop existing drug plans without penalty.

Because these can be overwhelming and confusing decisions, assistance is available to help clients find the closest State of Illinois Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) office, where they can schedule appointments to get help with open enrollment.

Those offices are at the following area locations:

  • Catholic Charities of Macoupin County, 525 W. Second South St., Carlinville – 217-854-4511, ext. 207
  • Illinois Valley Economic Development, 223 S. Macoupin St., Gillespie – 217-839-4431
  • Maple Street Clinic, 109 E. Maple St., Gillespie – 217-839-4142
  • Prairie Council on Aging, 223 S. Macoupin St., Gillespie – 217-839-4431
  • Montgomery County Health Department, 11191 Illinois Route 185, Hillsboro – 217-532-2001
  • Catholic Charities of Decatur, 239 W. Prairie St., Decatur – 217-428-3458
  • CHELP, 1429 W. Jasper St., Decatur – 217-422-9888
  • Decatur-Macon County Senior Center, 1430 N. 22nd St., Decatur – 217-429-1239
  • Macon County Health Department – Starting Point, 1221 E. Condit St., Decatur – 217-423-6550
  • Central Counties Health Center, 2239 E. Cook St., Springfield – 217-788-2373
  • CEFS Economic Opportunity Corp., 311 S. Main St., Taylorville – 217-824-4712
  • Senior Citizens of Christian County, 701 W. Adams St., Taylorville – 217-824-4263

SHIP counselors work through the Medicare.gov system to help seniors and people with disabilities make the best choices for their individual situation. Residents can contact SHIP by calling 800-252-8966 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.

For more information, including a complete list of SHIP locations, visit http://www.illinois.gov/aging/ship/Pages/default.aspx.

To compare 2019 drug and health plans or to find out more about Medicare options, including preventive services now covered, visit the federal website at medicare.gov. Medicare customer service representatives are available around the clock at 800-633-4227.

SHIP is not affiliated with any insurance company, and counselors do not sell or solicit any type of insurance. SHIP counselors in the field help seniors and people with disabilities on Medicare understand the options available to them. They also educate and answer questions about Medicare plans and options.

 

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