State: Universities express fears of budget impasse impacts

It’s not just the fear that businesses and jobs could pack up and leave the state because of the ongoing budget impasse; there’s also concern that college students will say “adios.”

Illinois State University President Larry Dietz said Thursday the current budget stalemate now more than 100 days into the current fiscal year with no spending plan–including money for higher education–isn’t good for his school’s attendance rates.

“We already know that the state of Illinois ranks second in the nation in the number of students that leave this state to go to school in other places. So to me it’s an issue really of angst and anxiety as a result of not having a budget.”

Other higher education representatives say more problems they’re facing include layoffs, less course offerings and money through the Monetary Award Program not being available.

CMS says schools have taken students awarded the MAP grants for the current semester hoping to get the money later but are struggling with how to handle the coming spring semester. Leading lawmakers speculate the budget impasse could stretch into next year.

WCRI studies Illinois workers compensation

The Workers’ Compensation Research Institute’s CompScope Medical Benchmarks for Illinois study says between 2010 and 2012 medical payments per claim decreased 20 percent in Illinois but non-hospital payments like occupational therapists and chiropractors, remained higher than other states they studied.

Despite the 2011 reforms reducing the fee schedule rates the average medical payment per claim for many services like surgery, radiology, physical medicine and pain management injections remained higher than in the median study state.

The WCRI study also says the share of non-hospital payments in overall medical payments increased from 55 percent to 66 percent. Other study findings include a higher-than typical percentage of claims with physical medicine, and prices paid for professional services–other than office visits–remained higher in Illinois than in other study states.

Former CPS official charged with corruption

The former chief executive of Chicago Public Schools faces multiple counts of public corruption, including awarding no-bid contracts to her former employer in exchange for bribes and kickbacks.

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District Zachary Fardon alleges the contracts steered by Barbara Byrd-Bennett were worth more than $23 million to the SUPES Academy and Synesi Associates in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Fardon also alleges the companies agreed to conceal the kickback money by funneling funds into accounts of two of Byrd-Bennett’s relatives.

The companies provided other benefits like meals, tickets to basketball and baseball games and an airplane ticket. SUPES and Synesi and their former owners were also charged in the indictment. Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement he’s saddened and disappointed to learn about the alleged criminal activity.


Illinois News Network

 

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