Federal government approves plan to protect safety net and rural hospitals

Gov. Bruce Rauner recently announced that the federal government has approved the state’s plan to protect safety-net and rural hospitals while ensuring continued federal support for quality healthcare to more than three million Illinoisans. 

The plan was created with Senate Bill 1773, bipartisan legislation that Rauner signed in March. It 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 new program takes effect July 1. 

A bipartisan group of legislators worked with the Illinois Health and Hospital Association and the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services to redesign the program, create a more equitable reimbursement process, and ensure more efficient use of taxpayer dollars. 

Prior to the new program, the state used old data sets, which were sometimes based on care that was provided as far back as 2005, to reimburse hospitals for Medicaid services. The new model applies updated data and also ensures 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.

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