Gov. Blagojevich uses amendatory veto
power to clear path for more federal Medicaid dollars
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[AUG. 25, 2004]
SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. Rod
Blagojevich used his amendatory veto power Tuesday to leverage more
federal Medicaid dollars to pump into Illinois nursing homes. It's
the governor's hope that his action leads to a much-deserved wage
increase for thousands of frontline nursing home employees.
House Bill 2220 amends the Public Aid Code to increase Medicaid
rates for nursing homes, allowing the state to capture more federal
funds. However, the bill's effective date is July 1, and the state
would not have been able to retroactively capture federal funds.
Therefore, the governor used his amendatory veto power to change the
bill's effective date to Jan. 1, 2005.
"By making this change, the state is
able to capture a greater federal Medicaid match, pumping more
much-needed dollars into Illinois' nursing homes," Gov. Blagojevich
said. "It's my hope that the nursing home industry uses these
additional dollars to reward those working so hard to care for this
state's most vulnerable citizens. Currently, nursing home workers
are poorly paid, and many have had their wages frozen in recent
years. It's not only fair to pay these workers better, it will
improve the quality of care for Illinois seniors."
The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Lou
Lang, D-Skokie, and Sen. Ira Silverstein, D-Chicago, increases
Medicaid rates paid to nursing homes by the difference between a
facility's per diem property, liability and malpractice insurance
costs as reported in the cost report filed with the Illinois
Department of Public Aid on July 1, 2001, and those same costs
reported in the facility's 2002 cost report. According to the
Department of Public Aid, the cost of the rate formula in House Bill
2220 is estimated to be $34 million -- half of which would be paid
for by a federal match.
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There are currently more than 73,000
seniors living in 781 Illinois nursing homes, and employees are the
backbone of those facilities. A 2002 survey found that employees
providing frontline care to seniors in Illinois earn just slightly
more than minimum wage. It's believed that paying employees better
wages for this demanding work will lead to less turnover in nursing
homes and will improve the overall quality of care for Illinois
legislators will consider the governor's amendatory veto when they
return to Springfield in November.
from the governor's office]