Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Barry
Maram joined hospital officials, legislators and families at
Carbondale Memorial Hospital to celebrate the boost in federal funds
that will benefit communities throughout the southern Illinois area.
The state's hospital assessment plan will help Illinois hospitals
continue to recruit and retain doctors, provide advanced medical
care, and serve Illinois' most vulnerable patients.
one, we have taken steps to help every Illinoisan get the care they
need," Blagojevich said. "With this boost of nearly $2 billion, we
will be able to do even more. Illinois hospitals work tirelessly to
treat every patient who comes through their doors. I want to thank
Senator Schoenberg and Representative Currie for their hard work on
this initiative, as well as Speaker Hastert and the federal
government for supporting our hospitals and recognizing our
commitment to providing care to every family in Illinois."
"We are very proud to announce the approval of the hospital
assessment, which will add much-needed funding to hospitals all
around the state," said House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill. "I
have been pleased to work with the coalition of Governor
Blagojevich, the Illinois congressional delegation, and the Centers
for Medicare and Medicaid Services to achieve this great success for
Senate Bill 157, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Schoenberg, D-Evanston,
and Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago, created the three-year
assessment on Illinois hospitals. The law, which the governor signed
in July 2005, replaced the former hospital assessment program, which
provided $430 million in federal funding and ended on July 1, 2005.
"This critical infusion of federal dollars will help hospitals
and other health care providers ensure accessible, affordable and
quality health care services for those who live in underserved
communities across Illinois," said Schoenberg, chief Senate sponsor
of the hospital assessment proposal. "Without these resources,
hospitals serving residents of predominantly lower- and
lower-middle-income communities in the Chicago area and those
downstate would be threatened with closing their doors or
drastically cutting services to stay alive."
A hospital assessment program is a federally permissible method
for states to leverage their resources in order to attract
additional federal matching funds into their state health care
systems. Revenue generated by the assessment will boost the amount
the state receives in matching funds from the federal government.
Illinois will leverage additional federal resources of $600 million
to the state's health care network in the years 2006, 2007 and 2008.
The state's hospitals will benefit by $470 million per year.
Additionally, the state will use $130 million per year to help with
additional Medicaid health care needs, such as funding for nursing
homes, the developmentally disabled and other Medicaid services. The
proposed assessment plan will end on July 1, 2008.
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"The hospital assessment program will bring enormous benefits to
the hospitals of Illinois and their patients by increasing Medicaid
funding by a significant amount," said Kenneth Robbins, president of
the Illinois Hospital Association. "Reaching this goal required a
strong and active partnership among hospitals and state and federal
officials. The governor is to be commended for the role he played in
making this program possible, as well as for his ongoing leadership
in supporting health care in Illinois."
"SIH was thankful that the governor and legislators at the state
and national levels have come together with the Illinois Hospital
Association to ensure that hospitals will continue to be fairly
compensated through Medicaid," said Tom Firestone, M.D., president
and chief executive officer of Southern Illinois Healthcare. "They
have demonstrated their commitment to hospitals in Illinois so we
can continue to fulfill our commitment to the patients we serve.
This is great news for patients and for those who care for them."
"In the over 30 years that I have been administrator of Memorial
Hospital, I think this program is one of the best examples of
government and hospitals working together for a common goal," said
George Maroney, administrator of Memorial Hospital of Carbondale.
"When I say government, I am referring to the federal government,
the speaker of the U.S. House, the governor's office and the state
legislature. Their efforts and the efforts of the Illinois Hospital
Association and its members came together and prevailed in working
with the federal government to increase the dollars coming to the
state of Illinois to help fund the care of patients on Medicaid
receiving hospital treatment."
Before last year's successful assessment, it had been over 10
years since Illinois submitted a hospital assessment plan to the
federal government for approval, in turn forgoing hundreds of
millions of federal health care dollars from coming into the state
of Illinois. The Blagojevich administration was able to forge a
broad-based, bipartisan coalition in 2003 that led the effort to
getting an assessment plan approved by the Illinois General Assembly
and the federal government.
[News release from the governor's office]