Health Science Librarians of Ilinois

HSLI Newsletter


Serving Illinois Health Information Professionals

Legislative Alert–Proposed Amendment to Illinois Concealed-Carry Law

Yesterday, an amendment to the “Firearm Concealed Carry Act” was introduced by Representative Ed Sullivan, Jr. (Republican, 51st District–Mundelein), and the bill was referred to the Rules Committee this morning. The amendment would affect the section of the legislation covering the removal of a weapon from a vehicle, specifically if the vehicle is parked in a lot in which concealed carry is not allowed. As the Act stands now, an individual who is licensed to carry a firearm may remove the weapon from his or her vehicle, if the vehicle is parked in a lot not covered by concealed carry, only to store the firearm in the vehicle’s trunk or to remove it from the trunk. Also, the weapon must be unloaded before one takes it out of the vehicle. The amendment would remove the segment of the Act mandating that the weapon be unloaded before it is removed from the vehicle.

For information on House Bill 0319, including its current status, click here.

If you are planning to attend one of the Legislative Meet-ups, this might be a good issue (along with the impact of Governor Rauner’s fiscal policies) to raise with your elected officials.

Also, for an overview of the ongoing impact of the concealed-carry legislation, please see this page from the Illinois Hospital Association’s website. The page focuses, in particular, on the requirements for reporting to the Department of Human Services that an individual is developmentally disabled or poses a danger to one’s self or to others (so that, in certain instances, the Department may determine whether such an individual owns a firearm).

 

 

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Legislative Meet-Ups Reminder

With Governor Bruce Rauner having laid out his proposals for slashing spending by up to 20 percent, and with further cost-cutting measures likely to be unveiled in his “State of the State” speech on February 4, it is critical that library advocates act now to ensure that maintaining funding levels at an acceptable level is first and foremost in legislators’ minds. To that end, the annual Legislative Meet-Ups, sponsored by the Illinois Library Association, offer an excellent opportunity to strengthen existing connections with elected officials and to build new ones. The dates and locations for this year’s four meet-ups are below. If possible, try to attend one of the first three, since they fall before the Governor’s is due to submit his budget, on February 18.

 

Friday, February 13–South Suburban Breakfast in Tinley Park

Friday, February 13–West Suburban Lunch in Oak Brook

Monday, February 16–North Suburban Breakfast in Buffalo Grove

Friday, March 6–Metro East Breakfast in Edwardsville

 

The deadline for registering to attend a meet-up is February 1. To sign up for one, click here. To see which event covers your legislative district, click here. If you need to check who your current legislators are, you can do so here.

In addition to financial support for education and libraries, Medicaid funding is another area that could face severe cuts . During his campaign for governor, Rauner raised concerns about the potential for decreasing levels of reimbursement from the federal government, meaning that Illinois would have to pick up possibly 50 percent of the funding. (Currently under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government will cover 100 percent of Medicaid funding for newly-eligible enrollees, through 2016. The share of funding covered by the federal government will then fall to 90 percent in 2020.) In addition, due to concerns about fraudulent enrollment resulting from expanded eligibility (400,000 people, or more than double the expected number, have enrolled since then-Governor Pat Quinn signed Medicaid expansion into law this past July), Rauner has suggested further transferring the state’s Medicaid program into a managed-care system.

 

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Illinois Budget Situation

With a new governor having taken office, the state’s budget situation-already precarious-could become more so, with the potential for many public institutions, among them libraries, to be hit especially hard. Governor Bruce Rauner has inherited a number of crises, including an ongoing operational deficit and a rising state pension debt, both of which have now been exacerbated by the discontinuation of the state income-tax increase. With the projected loss in revenue, several billion dollars will have to be cut in order to balance the budget in FY 2015, which ends on June 30. Unless additional sources of funding can be located, it is likely that the cuts will be twice as large in FY 2016.

 

Governor Rauner has already laid out how he plans to bring spending within budget limits. His decision to cease funding for all non-essential services, which has already gone into effect, is likely just the first step. The Governor has warned state agencies that they should not expect to gain additional funding this fiscal year. If this change is applied universally, agencies may be forced to cut their spending by up to 20 percent.

 

At this point, it is not entirely clear to what extent library funding, particularly for statewide grants, will be affected, since services provided by the Secretary of State may not be directly impacted. Nonetheless, the potential for that agency to be hit by cuts elsewhere certainly exists. Beyond funding from grants, the broader sources of funding for libraries throughout the state will likely be affected if the broader institutions to which different libraries belong (colleges and universities, hospitals, school districts) are hit by cuts. Of particular concern at the K-12 level is Rauner’s support for charter schools, which are not required to have libraries. State funding for the proposed Obama Presidential Library–while perhaps not as much of an immediate concern–is another issue that bears watching.

 

Interestingly, Governor Rauner does have a history of philanthropic support for libraries, as evidenced by the $5 million donation that he and his wife made to his alma mater, Dartmouth College; the donation contributed to a $10 million renovation of Webster Hall, which was converted into a new library for the College’s special collections. (To read about the Rauner Special Collections Library’s latest acquisitions and other highlights of its holdings, check out the Library’s blog.) It will be interesting to see whether the Governor’s concern for a library at an Ivy League institution extends to those in the public sector or that receive substantial amounts of public funding.

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Library Advocacy Unshushed: Values, Evidence, Action

The American Library Association is proud to announce its partnership with the Canadian Library Association (CLA) and the University of Toronto iSchool in offering its popular MOOC (Massively Open Online Course), entitled “Library Advocacy Unshushed: Values, Evidence, Action” beginning February 1, 2015.

 

Offered through the EdX consortium, in which the University of Toronto collaborates with other leading universities, “Library Advocacy Unshushed” is now available for registration via this URL: https://www.edx.org/course/library-advocacy-unshushed-university-torontox-la101x#.VLBbWGMpcin

 

The course will start on February 2, 2015, and ends March 23, 2015. There is no prerequisite, though basic knowledge of librarianship is recommended. Through this open form of course delivery, including videos, online discussions, quizzes, and video interviews with guest experts, participants will learn how to be powerful advocates for the values and future of libraries and librarianship. Participants should expect to commit four to five hours of study per week.

For more information, visit http://www.ala.org/onlinelearning/node/300

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Cleo Pappas nears 1 year in retirement

Cleo PappasCleo Pappas, Associate Professor, retired February 2014 from the Library of the Health Sciences Chicago at UIC.  Cleo is a passionate advocate for health sciences librarianship.  She frequently guest lectured at Dominican University to library school students on health sciences librarianship. She enjoyed mentoring her colleagues within my department and the library school students who completed their practicum at my library.

Her advocacy for health sciences librarianship carried over into her innovative work at the Library of the Health Sciences Chicago.  She was the first clinical librarian in my department.  She went on morning rounds with health care teams at the Children’s Hospital at UIC, teaching classes to various departments within the hospital.  She also opened the door for librarians in my department to serve on committees within our hospital.  For example, she was the first librarian to serve on the Evidence Based Practice Nursing Council and the Ethics Committee.  She was also invited to receive a joint appointment with the College of Medicine.

In addition to being a great librarian, Cleo has published several articles, including co-authoring with physicians. She is an excellent writer and has always been willing to give her colleagues feedback on their papers.

Last year, Cleo wrote an article in the LHS Chicago newsletter, E-ppendix, on her perspective on retirement.   I feel that I should close with the last few sentences she wrote in her article:

“The older years are often referred to as the age of winter or loss. But, in order to experience loss, you have to have had something you cherished first. My hope is that the memory of deeply gratifying experiences, relationships, and work will carry me through and provide the substance tos hare with future generations of family, mentees, and students.”

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Free webinar on instutitional repositories in health care systems

New Services to Enhance a Health Care Network’s Reputation
Tue, Jan 27, 2015 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM CST
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Live for a little over two years, Lehigh Valley Health Network’s repository, LVHN Scholarly Works, has enhanced the Network’s reputation and research credibility by increasing the visibility of its scholarship. In addition to enhancing the Network’s reputation, LVHN Scholarly Works has been instrumental in saving time and easing workflows for several of its residency programs as well as for ACGME accreditation, and has even contributed to filling in missing pieces of institutional history. As the initiative moves forward, the library continues to look for ways to further increase the visibility of LVHN’s scholarship and help to solve other challenges.

Over the course of this webinar, Kris Petre, Senior Medical Librarian at LVHN, will provide an overview of their repository initiative and its importance to LVHN, and then dive into some of the specific projects that they have undertaken, including the results of those projects to date.

Presented by Kristine Petre, MLS, AHIP, CM, Senior Medical Librarian, Lehigh Valley Health Network

Register at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6768336658448979969

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Update on Affordable Care Act

This editorial from The Lancet has a nice overview of the issues that continue to be associated with implementing The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In particular, the piece focuses on how well the goals of the Affordable Care Act have been met. The main goal is to increase the number of Americans with health insurance. In that regard, the editorial argues, the Act has had some success, although it is still falling short of the projected goal. In the last month-and-a-half of 2014, 6.4 million Americans purchased a plan or re-enrolled in one. (Out of this group, almost 2 million were new enrollees.) At the current rate, almost 10 million Americans will have enrolled by the end of the current enrollment period on February 15. That is still significantly short of the original goal of 13 million, however. Nonetheless, the rate of uninsured Americans is the lowest it has been in nearly two decades, since 1997.

 

Another goal of the Affordable Care Act that the editorial identifies is improving the affordability and quality of health insurance. The legislative initiative in 2015 that will have probably the biggest impact in this area is the mandate that employers with over a hundred full-time employees must provide health coverage. (This is finally going into effect, after several delays.) In addition, there will be more options for individuals who want to switch plans, as 25-percent more insurers are offering them. On top of this, the greater number of choices will affect the cost of premiums. The assumption is that increased competition among insurers will lower costs, but this is hard to predict, as other factors can come into play.

 

A third goal, related to the second one, is to decrease the costs of health care borne by the government and individuals. One of the ways in which this has been accomplished is through a decrease in Medicaid reimbursements. Although reimbursements were raised temporarily for two years, the increase was discontinued at the close of 2014. With higher rates no longer in effect, physician fees have been reduced by 43 percent. While costs are now lower, the quality of care could be negatively affected, as these lower costs must cover the greater number of Americans who now have Medicaid. (The number of Americans covered has increased in recent years by about nine million, bringing the total to more than 60 million.) It is not clear, at this point, how future legislation can help achieve the goal of decreasing costs while still improving the quality of, and access to, care.

 

For more information on the current enrollment figures throughout the United States, go to this website. (The site distinguishes between confirmed and estimated figures.) The numbers on the site are updated regularly. For the enrollment figures on the site that are specific to Illinois, go here.

 

Another useful site, especially for policy analysis related to the Affordable Care Act, is the Urban Policy Institute. The site has a section that is specific to health policy. The analysis provided is especially helpful for tracking the relationship between costs and the number of insured and uninsured individuals.

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Key Legislative Issues in 114th U.S. Congress

The American Library Association’s Washington, D.C., office has identified the following issues affecting libraries as being especially crucial during the 114th session of Congress (2015-2017).

Appropriations – Maintain level funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) in the FY 2016 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill

Copyright – Protect the many provisions of the Copyright Act that expressly allow the use of copyrighted information without prior authorization by the copyright holder, including particularly the “Fair Use” doctrine (17 U.S.C. §107)

Government Information – Pass the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR)

Privacy and Surveillance – Restore the Constitutional privacy rights of library users and all Americans lost since “9-11″ to overly-broad, invasive and insufficiently “checked and balanced” provisions of the USA Patriot, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments, and of the Electronic Communications Privacy Acts

School Libraries – Reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Telecommunications–support “network neutrality”

For more information on each issue, please click here.  (Also, if you’re interested, take a look at the “key facts about libraries”–some of which are humorous–at the bottom of the page.)

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Library Referenda in Illinois During 2014

During the 2014 election cycle, a number of referenda affecting Illinois libraries were placed on the ballot.  The purpose of most referenda impacting libraries in Illinois and elsewhere is to increase the number of people who have access to library services.  Library access is an especially critical issue in Illinois, since approximately one million of the state’s residents do not receive library services.  This is largely due to that Illinois does not have county libraries-just city, township, and district ones.  Illinois residents who do not live within a district’s boundaries must pay for a library card in order to borrow materials.

 

One library district that chose to address this issue via a referendum is the Gail Borden Public Library District, in Elgin.  The district serves 144,597 residents of Elgin, South Elgin, and sections of several other communities (Campton Hills, Streamwood, Hoffman Estates, and Bartlett).  Within the geographic region covered by the district, however, are 870 residents who live in unserved areas.  Additionally, over half (53 percent) of children in the district’s geographic area do not have access to a public library.  In the case of children, belonging to a public library is especially crucial, since libraries play a key role in academic success.

 

Unfortunately, the referendum for the Gail Borden Public Library District did not pass.  Even though 70 percent of the overall vote was in favor of the referendum, the referendum did not receive a majority in any of the five precincts that would have been added to the library district.  The opposition was due to that residents of those precincts would have had to pay a library tax, amounting to approximately $240 per year on homes valued at $150,000 or more.  If the referendum had passed, the library district would have received about $350,000 in additional funding each year.   Even though the referendum failed, the campaign for it was at least a partial success, in that it gave librarians the opportunity to raise awareness of unserved populations in the district.  Librarians also found that there was strong support for access to library services; indeed, some residents of the unserved areas said that they would not have bought their current homes, had they known that the properties did not fall within the district’s service area.

 

There were, however, a number of successful library referenda in Illinois during the past election season.  One of these was a referendum (passed with approximately 55 percent of the vote) that will enable the Lemont Public Library to buy bonds that will go toward a $2.8 million renovation project.  The project will include upgrading equipment, building a new meeting room, and renovating existing space to create quiet reading areas and a teen section.  Another referendum (in the Rockford area), which passed with 52 percent of the vote, will allow continued funding of the North Suburban Library District.  Keeping funding at current levels will allow the district to conduct repairs and maintenance at the libraries in Love Park and Roscoe.  Additionally, in Park Ridge, 57 percent of voters supported a referendum that will raise $680,000 for the Park Ridge Public Library by increasing taxes on some homeowners (those with properties worth $421,000 or more).  The funds will allow the library to return to full hours of operation, undergo a major renovation project, and return the materials budget to its previous level.

 

During the upcoming legislative session, library referenda will no doubt continue to play a key part in sustaining current levels of funding for existing services and, when possible, extending services to more people.  The success or failure of referenda at the local level will merit special attention because of the possibility of substantial funding cuts at the state level, particularly if the income-tax increase is not sustained.  Also, as 2015 is an “off year” in the election cycle, it is likely that fewer voters will take note of library referenda and the broader issues associated with library funding.  That is why promoting awareness of referenda and other legislation affecting libraries will be particularly critical in the coming year.

 

For more information on library referenda in Illinois and across the country, click here.

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Federal Budget Passes–Government Shutdown Averted

The United States Senate just passed this year’s $1.1 trillion budget, by a vote of 56 to 40.  (The budget still has to be signed into law by the President.)  While it is not entirely clear what impact the budget, as a whole, will have on libraries, one thing is certain: there will be an avoidance of the government shutdown that paralyzed many federal library and research services in the fall of 2013.

As a result of the budget’s passing, the following will happen.

–The Library of Congress will remain open.  Its entire website (not just THOMAS, Congress.gov, and Cataloger’s Desktop) will remain accessible.

–Websites for the National Institutes of Health and the National Library of Medicine will be kept up-to-date.

–Databases provided by the National Library of Medicine, such as PubMed and MedlinePlus, will be fully accessible and up-to-date.

–Federally-funded presidential libraries and all National Archives facilities will stay open.

–The Smithsonian, in addition to other federal galleries and museums, will remain open.

–Federally-funded search engines, such as eric.ed.gov (and not just the version accessible through EBSCOhost), will remain accessible.

–Research into life-threatening diseases will continue, and new patients will keep being accepted into clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health.

–Consumer-protection services, from child-product safety to securing of hazardous-waste facilities, will continue.  All inspections (not just “essential” ones) of chemical facilities and drinking-water systems will continue.

–Federal employees, including librarians, will still be able to read their e-mail.

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