Ensuring quality medical care for the most vulnerable

Gov. Rauner signed bipartisan legislation this week that protects safety net and rural hospitals while ensuring continued federal support for quality health care to more than three million Illinoisans.

Senate Bill 1773 ensures the state will continue to receive federal matching funds to offer services for Medicaid beneficiaries through the Hospital Assessment Program, which brings in $3.5 billion annually.

The Hospital Assessment Program is set to expire at the end of June. A bipartisan group of legislators worked with the Illinois Health and Hospital Association and the Department of Healthcare and Family Services to redesign the program, create a more equitable reimbursement process, and ensure more efficient use of taxpayer dollars.

The state currently uses old data sets, sometimes based on care that was provided as far back as 2005, to reimburse hospitals for Medicaid services. The new model will use updated data and also ensure that more of the reimbursements are based on actual services hospitals provide. It also dedicates more than $260 million to help hospitals transform their operations to better serve their communities, such as offering more urgent and outpatient care.

The Federal government will need to sign off on the new terms of the program before it can take effect.

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