New law will bring fed dollars to health
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[August 20, 2008]
CHICAGO -- On
Tuesday, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich signed into law the 2009 hospital
assessment, which, once approved by the federal
Centers for Medicare
and Medicaid Services, will bring millions of dollars in federal
matching funds to Illinois hospitals -- particularly those with high
volumes of Medicaid patients.
Senate Bill 2857 had overwhelming support in both the House
(113-0-1) and the Senate (54-0-1). The bill was sponsored by
state Rep. Barbara
Flynn Currie and state Sen. Jeffrey Schoenberg.
"Health care is a top priority in Illinois. This bill facilitates
that process, secures the matching federal dollars and gets the
money where it needs to go to ensure everyone gets the quality
health care they deserve," Blagojevich said.
Under this agreement between Illinois and the federal government,
the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services will
distribute $1.55 billion in Medicaid payments to hospitals from the
Hospital Provider Fund. The federal government matches these
payments and sends Illinois $777 million in matching funds. The
state then collects $907 million in taxes from hospitals, totaling
$1.67 billion. Through this process, hospitals gain $655 million in
increased funding. The General Assembly has included Senate Bill
2857 in the fiscal 2009 budget.
"The hospital assessment bill is critical for the people of
Illinois, because it ensures proper funding for the doctors and
hospitals who are serving our citizens," said Currie, who sponsored
the legislation in the House.
"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, Senate sponsor.
"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."
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"During Gov. Blagojevich's tenure, Illinois has received federal
approval for two successful hospital assessment plans, bringing
nearly $2.3 billion in federal dollars to Illinois. Our hospitals
had not received funding through this type of plan in more than 10
years prior to this administration," said Barry S. Maram, director
of the Department of Healthcare and Family Services. "The department
will continue working with lawmakers, our partners in the industry
and the federal government to secure federal approval for the
current proposed hospital assessment that will bring important
federal matching dollars to Illinois hospitals for years to come."
The Department of Healthcare and Family Services will distribute
the money to hospitals during the course of the year in 12 equal
payments. The amount of money a hospital receives is based on the
various services it provides to Medicaid patients. The additional
funding recognizes hospitals that provide obstetrical, psychiatric
and rehabilitative services, and considers capital costs and other
types of services.
The amount of money that each hospital receives is the same for
the period of the assessment, which allows hospitals to plan for
their cash flow from the program each year. Senate Bill 2857
codifies a five-year plan that will be effective after being
approved by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services is working
with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to
answer technical questions regarding the plan.
Before Blagojevich took office, more than 10 years had passed
since Illinois had submitted a hospital assessment program to the
federal government for approval. As a result, during that time
hundreds of millions of federal health care dollars did not come to
the state of Illinois. The first hospital assessment program
approved by the federal government brought $490 million to Illinois
in just more than one year. The most recent approved plan, which
reached its sunset on July 1, brought more than $600 million per
year to Illinois.
[Text from file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]