Bill offers $9 million to area hospitals

Area hospitals would receive $9 million in new Medicaid funding under legislation backed by state Sen. Dave Syverson (R-Rockford).

On Nov. 20, the Senate passed House Bill 701, which would collect $560 million from Illinois hospitals in return for federal Medicaid matching funds. The net result would mean $300 million in new Medicaid funding for Illinois hospitals, along with $130 million for state use.

However, critics of the bill said the state’s $130 million should be used to help bolster developmentally disabled/mental health programs across Illinois in the same way hospitals are being financially strengthened. As it stands, much of that funding will go toward health programs yet to be determined.

“While I am pleased our area hospitals will see new funding to help with their financial problems, I’m disappointed the Senate Democrats refused to give the same funding to developmentally disabled and mental health providers,” said Syverson, a member of the Health and Human Services Committee.

Syverson supported the bill because Winnebago County hospitals and nursing homes came out ahead.

“This legislation will bring $9 million to hospitals in Winnebago County,” Syverson said. “Area nursing homes will also receive more than $1 million. Although I had major concerns with this bill, I could not vote against legislation that would provide our hospitals and nursing homes this desperately needed aid.”

The Illinois Hospital Association and related groups also backed passage of the legislation, which would increase the amount of money Medicaid pays for caring for low-income patients from 80 percent, which is the average reimbursement rate, to 92 percent. According to the IHA, right now, 60 percent of hospitals are losing money because of the services they provide to the state’s 1 million plus Medicaid patients.

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