Safety Net Hospital Workers Sound the Alarm Over Potential Closures

New Hospital Assessment and Funding Formula Risks Billions in Lost Federal Medicaid Dollars

PerryHCII hospital workers rallied at the state capitol today to save safety net hospitals.  They called on Gov. Rauner’s administration at the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) and the Illinois Hospital Association (IHA) to urgently produce a fair and equitable hospital assessment and new Medicaid funding formula to protect the state’s safety net hospitals.

Hospital workers were joined by state representatives Marcus Evans and Juliana Stratton, who are great champions for affordable healthcare and good jobs.
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Here’s how WTAX Radio described the rally:

The Illinois Health and Hospital Association says it’s working for the most vulnerable Illinoisans, but not everybody agrees.

Purple-shirted members of SEIU Healthcare chanted “Shame on you!” as they rallied at midday Tuesday in the Capitol Rotunda. The union says the hospitals invest in the suburbs, not in places like the south and west sides of Chicago, or in East St Louis.

Rep. Evans took aim at the Illinois Hospital Association for its efforts to short-change safety nets:

“It’s ridiculous. I am ashamed of the Illinois Hospital Association. We’re not going to stand for it…The buck stops here. We’re going to save these hospitals and get them what they deserve. The only issue I have is we’re not even asking for enough!”

Rep. Stratton noted how safety net hospitals are economic engines of healthy communities and urged the Governor and the IHA to provide equitable funding.

Safety net hospital workers are demanding that Rauner’s Department of Healthcare and Family Services and the Illinois Hospital Association produce a new assessment urgently so that the legislature can vote to approve the measure and submit the new assessment to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) who have to approve any new formula.

Any delay or disruption of Medicaid funding to the state’s hospitals would be utterly disastrous, especially to Illinois’ safety net hospitals and critical access hospitals and will force many of them to close and cost thousands of jobs and lost vital services and access to emergency rooms.

The costs of providing health care in safety-nets continue to rise while their reimbursement does not. For most safety-nets, even continuing to receive flat funding puts them at serious risk of closing.  Here are some reasons why fairly funding safety net hospitals is so important.

  • Safety net hospitals are in disadvantaged communities without an alternate access to an Emergency Room
  • Safety net hospitals provide care to a primarily African American population
  • Safety net hospitals provide thousands of jobs to the communities
  • Safety net hospitals receive 40-50% of their operating revenue from the hospital assessment
  • Safety net hospitals typically have over 70% of their patients on Medicaid
  • The Illinois Medicaid program pays 50-70 cents on the dollar for the cost of services
  • Safety net hospitals often have little/no ability to offset Medicaid losses on private payers, like larger hospital systems are able to do.


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