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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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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

Manar FFA 3 Nokomis 650


Taylorville High School FFA chapter

Manar FFA 5 Taylorville 650


Staunton High School FFA chapter

Manar FFA 6 Staunton 650


Read more: Manar meets with area FFA students during Ag Legislative Day

Clinic’s ability to address Decatur opioid crisis uncertain while state funding is withheld

CrossingHealthCareSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar is calling on Gov. Bruce Rauner to release the $3 million in state money he promised to Decatur’s Crossing Healthcare during a splashy news conference in February.

More than two months after the governor’s announcement, the Rauner administration has only approved $750,000 for the clinic.

That’s unacceptable, said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat whose district includes Crossing Healthcare and much of Decatur.

“Let’s revisit the governor’s track record with money for this clinic. He froze its funding immediately upon taking office in 2015. He blocked negotiations on the Senate’s ‘grand bargain’ budget last year and repeatedly vetoed budgets that would have provided the money the center was owed and desperately needed,” Manar said.

“I have contacted the comptroller, and her office is prepared to release the full $3 million but can’t do that until Rauner submits the paperwork to do so. I would hate to think the governor could be so cruel as to dangle money in front of a clinic just so he could get in front of a TV camera.”

Rauner previously froze a promised $3 million construction grant to the clinic for its Community Health Improvement Center.

Crossing Healthcare is a federally qualified clinic that served more than 19,000 patients in Decatur in 2016. Among its many services is treatment for opioid addiction.

“Gov. Rauner is going around claiming his administration is doing everything in its power to address the opioid problem. It’s baloney,” Manar said. “And, clearly, he’s not keeping his promises to Decatur.”

State’s oldest debt is outstanding wages for prison workers, caregivers and others

SPRINGFIELD – An effort to compensate about 24,000 state workers for promised wages going back to 2011 took a step forward Thursday.

A measure to set aside $63.25 million for the back pay was approved by a Senate appropriations committee. The legislation – Senate Bill 2269 sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) – was approved 14-2 with bipartisan support.

“This is Illinois’ oldest unpaid bill, and it’s time get this debt off the books once and for all,” said Manar, who represents a large number of public employees in the Senate. “It’s absurd to ignore a debt that the courts and lawmakers of both parties agree should be paid. Taking care of our frontline employees is the right thing to do.”

The legislation would appropriate money to various state agencies to pay employees the wages they’re owed. The employees include correctional officers, caregivers for veterans and people with developmental disabilities, mental health professionals and others.

Back Wages Owed to State WorkersThe Illinois Department of Central Management Services and AFSCME, the labor union representing the largest number of state employees, worked with Manar to determine how many workers are still owed back wages.

The largest amount, nearly $41 million, is owed to workers with the state department of corrections, followed by the department of human services, which owes more than $17 million to its employees.

“Thanks to Senator Manar’s leadership, thousands of state employees are one step closer to being paid the wages they were promised and earned,” AFSCME Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch said.

“State government’s oldest unpaid bill is for these wages that since 2011 have been wrongly denied to workers who care for the disabled, keep our prisons safe, protect public health and more. AFSCME won’t rest until every employee is paid what they are owed.”

This is the latest of numerous attempts in the General Assembly to appropriate the back pay to state workers. The measure will advance to the full Senate for approval.



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