The same day Carle Foundation Hospital announced a voluntary expansion of its charitable care program, a state Senate committee advanced legislation to require hospitals to provide free or discounted health care to an even larger pool of patients and limit their debt collection practices.
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, state Sen. Barack Obama, D-Chicago, said the bill is needed to address price gouging and predatory collection activities against the uninsured poor.
SPRINGFIELD – As expected, the agriculture community is not thrilled with Gov. Rod Blagojevich's budget, which eliminates funding for the Council on Food and Agricultural Research, proposes moving some functions of the Department of Agriculture into other state agencies and imposes a new sales tax on farm chemicals.
The new sales tax would apply only to farms with revenues of at least $1 million and is designed to spare smaller family operations.
SPRINGFIELD – The Champaign County Convention and Visitors Bureau and its counterparts around the state are among the losers in Gov. Rod Blagojevich's budget, which slashes in half state funding for tourism promotion programs for the year beginning July 1.
According to Emory Oney, executive director of the Champaign County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the governor's plan would take away $140,000 to $170,000 of the bureau's $645,000 annual budget. Cuts of that magnitude could severely limit the bureau's ability to draw more tourists into the county and could hurt the local economy.
SPRINGFIELD – Area lawmakers reacted warily to Gov. Rod Blagojevich's budget address Wednesday, in which he outlined plans to fill an estimated $1.7 billion deficit and increase spending by $340 million without raising the income tax or sales tax.
The governor's $43.5 billion operations budget for the year beginning July 1 proposes cutting costs by $840 million and generating $945 million in new revenues on top of $280 million in estimated base revenue growth.
URBANA – Carle Foundation Hospital will expand its community care program in an effort to provide more free and discounted medical care for the poor and uninsured, hospital officials said today.
The community care program offers financial assistance – both in the form of free care and reduced charges – to patients who qualify based on how their household incomes stack up to federal poverty guidelines.
SPRINGFIELD – The University of Illinois would receive about $14 million less in state money next school year under Gov. Rod Blagojevich's proposed budget, a figure that area lawmakers are not thrilled with but say could have been a lot worse.
"It's what we expected," said Terrance McLennand, assistant director of state relations for the University of Illinois. "It's manageable. We understand the state's in very difficult budget times."
CHAMPAIGN – The University of Illinois College of Communications has received a glowing endorsement, and backing for expansion, by a 13-member task force appointed by the dean.
The task force, headed by journalism Professor Walter Harrington, recommended the college be expanded to a four-year program; that the advertising department be repaired rather than disbanded; and that WILL dramatically expand the involvement of students in its operations, among other recommendations. The recommendation now goes to College of Communications Dean Ron Yates, then on to UI Provost Richard Herman for review.
URBANA – The cities of Urbana and Champaign want the option to be able to buy the local water system from Illinois American Water Co.
City officials disclosed this week that they are seeking a purchase option, and several other groundbreaking new provisions, as part of ongoing franchise renewal negotiations.
URBANA – The Illinois Department of Revenue has ruled that Provena Covenant Medical Center in Urbana is not a tax-exempt charitable organization – a ruling that could force the hospital to pay $1.1 million annually in local property taxes.
Champaign County and Provena officials confirmed the ruling was handed down on Friday.
LONGVIEW, Texas – Randall Coggin had worked for the Longview Independent School District for more than 30 years when he had a confrontation with a new superintendent.
Early in March 1999 Arthur Culver took charge of the east Texas district where Coggin was supervisor of the district's career and technology education department.