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(November 13th, 2018, Springfield, IL) — Hospital workers held a press conference inside the Capitol Rotunda to call on state lawmakers to publicly support and invest in safety net and critical care hospitals that serve low-income and mostly communities of color.
Worked criticized the Illinois Hospital Association’s (IHA) agenda to take more federal Medicaid dollars away from our safety net hospitals and actually give the money to wealthy, corporate healthcare systems who don’t need it.
A bipartisan legislative committee, the Hospital Transformation Review Committee, is tasked with drafting new rules for Phase 2 of the Hospital Transformation Program which will determine which hospitals receive federal Medicaid funding and how much money they’ll receive.
Even though our safety net hospitals serve low-income and communities of color, the hospital industry continues to devalue our work and opposes investing both in our neighborhoods and our workforce.
Hospital workers stated our four key values that we want our state lawmakers to embrace as we fight to protect our safety nets:
- Safety-nets must be given priority on Hospital Transformation Funding;
- These funds must not be used to reduce access to care and must also give workers better wages;
- The Illinois Hospital Association (IHA) must not have a monopoly over this debate;
- These funds must be allocated to reduce health disparities among low-income communities.
Joan Rodriguez, Housekeeper at Mt Sinai: We Must Protect Safety Net Hospitals
Percy Clark, St. Bernard Hospital: Safety Nets Need Investment to Serve Our Communities!
Kim Smith, Northwestern Memorial: the Hospital Industry is Driven By Greed
Anne Igoe, Vice-President of HCII Health Systems: IHA Diminishes the Value of Safety Nets
It is clear that safety net and critical access hospitals are the hospitals most in need of funding to transform. The rules should therefore prioritize funding to these hospitals relative to other types of hospitals with other sources of funding.
Safety-net hospitals face systematic pressures stemming from inadequate funding and the challenges of caring for a disproportionately sicker population. Safety net and critical access hospitals are often not only the sole healthcare providers within a geographically accessible range; they are often the economic engines of the communities they serve.
These hospitals do not have the benefit of more lucrative payments from private commercial payors to offset the high costs of caring for a sicker population.
Current supplemental dollars allocated to safety net hospitals are critical in supporting the day-to-day operations. To transform hospitals most in need, additional resources are required in Phase 2 beyond preserving existing funding.