05152018 Dyer Sullivan 350SPRINGFIELD – Two area pharmacy owners, Michelle Dyer and Owen Sullivan, are working with State Senator Andy Manar and lawmakers to expose how Illinois’ independent drug stores are being forced out of business because of state policies and unfair competition.

Dyer and Sullivan appeared before the Illinois Senate’s Human Services Committee last week to explain the effects of the state’s Medicaid managed care reboot on their small businesses, which serve largely rural areas of Illinois.

The financial crisis local pharmacies are facing has intensified since April 1, when the Rauner administration expanded the Medicaid managed care program to every county in Illinois. Adding to the pressure are rate cuts administered by pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs.

The result is that local pharmacies have seen drastic cuts in what they are reimbursed for filling Medicaid prescriptions. In many cases they are losing money on the prescriptions they fill.

Dyer, who owns three Michelle’s Pharmacy locations in Macoupin County, employs 15 full-time workers with benefits and provides high-quality health care for rural patients. She’s a first-generation pharmacy owner and has been in business 10 years.

But, she told the Senate committee, because of the state’s managed care changes, the drastic cuts implemented by PBMs and the lack of parity with CVS/Caremark, she and other independent pharmacy owners are being pushed out of business.

“We’re just asking to be appropriately reimbursed for our services and the medication we provide,” she said.

Owen Sullivan, a third-generation pharmacist and the owner of Sullivan’s Drugstore in Carlinville, faces similar struggles.

“What you’re allowing them to do is use state tax dollars to stamp out competition,” he told lawmakers.

Manar is sponsoring House Bill 3479 to address the problem and is engaged in negotiations with pharmacists, managed care organizations, PBMs and the state.

“I have two concerns. We have to have a network of pharmacies in the state to provide medical services. That is being threatened right now because of the implementation of managed care. That’s an indisputable fact,” he said.

“My second concern deals with transparency. Other states have taken steps to make sure the role of PBMs utilizing state tax dollars becomes more transparent. The language of this bill seeks to address both of those concerns.”

05152018 Manar Williams NelsonSPRINGFIELD -— State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) welcomed two central Illinois high school students to the Capitol last week as his senators for the day.

Meggan Williams, a junior at Staunton High School, and Noah Nelson, a senior at Taylorville High School, joined Manar in Springfield on Tuesday, May 15.

Williams is the daughter of Jeff and Tammy Williams. She is involved in dance and volleyball. While at the Capitol, she toured the building, accompanied Manar to committee hearings and joined him on the Senate floor for a busy afternoon of debate and votes on key pieces of legislation.

Noah Nelson is the son of Ed and Teresa Nelson. His interest in politics, journalism and current events led him to accept an invitation to attend the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in the fall, where he plans to study political science. Nelson also joined Manar on the Senate floor.

05162018 Henschen ManarSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar welcomed Wyatt Henschen, a senior at Pana High School, to the Capitol last week as his senator for the day.

Henschen, 18, of Oconee is the son of Roger Henschen II and Kim Crow. He was the senior class vice president and played baseball and football. He also is a Make-a-Wish volunteer, enjoys studying politics and U.S. history and is a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals.

While at the Capitol Wednesday, May 16, Henschen joined Manar for a series of meetings with constituents and colleagues.

SPRINGFIELD – Students and faculty from Pana and Taylorville met with State Senator Andy Manar recently to demonstrate innovative technology-driven projects they developed and to explain how technology is becoming a more important part of their education every day.

The students were at the Capitol for 2018 Tech Day, an annual showcase that offers an opportunity for students throughout Illinois to show state lawmakers how they use devices, the internet and digital curriculum to learn and innovate in school. Tech Day was Thursday, May 10.

“I was so impressed by these students and the projects they brought to the Capitol, as well as by their enthusiasm for technology and digital learning. I was reminded yet again that great things are happening in classrooms every day all around us,” said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat and a driving force behind the state’s adoption of a new school funding formula last year.

“As we work to ensure every school has adequate resources to provide a modern education, investing in computers, iPads and other technology will be a big part of that ongoing conversation,” he added.

05102018 Tech Day Pana Washington 650

Pana Washington Elementary School

Manar met with Addasyn Casner and Luke Fitzpatrick, both second-graders at Pana Washington Elementary School, and discussed their project, “It’s Elementary.” Washington students have shared access to iPads, Chromebooks and a computer lab. They are encouraged to use technology for brainstorming, research and presentations.

Casner and Fitzpatrick were accompanied to the Capitol by their teacher, Kim Hahnenkamp, and the school’s technology integration specialist, Jessica Miller.

05102018 Tech Day Pana Jr High 650

Pana Junior High School

An analysis of river systems on Mars was the focus of the digital research project three Pana Junior High eighth-graders brought to the Capitol to show lawmakers.

The students included Lizzie Schafer, 14, of Owaneco; Grace Fitzpatrick, 14, of Pana; and Grace Harriston, 13, of Pana. They were accompanied by eighth-grade science teacher March Schmitz.

05102018 Tech Day Tville Jr High 650

Taylorville Junior High School

Fifth-graders Sophia Rogers and Hannah Hartwig at Taylorville Junior High demonstrated how they used Tinkercad to design and print three-dimensional pioneer-era wagons that actually move. The project was inspired by their study of the westward expansion and a visit to the New Salem State Historic Site.

Rogers and Hartwig were accompanied to the Capitol by fifth-grade teacher Tammy Reindl and school technology director Chris Kuntzman.

 

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