State Representative Tony McCombie commended bipartisan efforts resulting in $250 million in additional federal funding to ensure Illinois hospitals are equipped during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Governor JB Pritzker signed Senate Bill 2541 on July 7 renewing the Hospital Assessment Program.
McCombie joined in supporting the new Hospital Assessment Program when it was before the Illinois House in May and praises its bipartisan support, “this is one example of both parties working together, addressing the needs of our diverse districts and accomplishing true bipartisan, compromise on really tough issues. This is exactly the kind of process and energy we need more of the legislature to move Illinois forward.”
The Hospital Assessment Program is a $3.8 billion program that will bring in over $250 million additional federal dollars to the state. The program consists of $450 million in additional funding for hospitals since the last assessment four years ago. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) worked with the General Assembly and stakeholders to distribute funding in a manner that increased funding to all hospitals in Illinois, while prioritizing hospitals that serve a high number of Medicaid patients.
The legislation helps make the Medicaid program more responsive to the needs of individual members on where to seek care. Funding is also reserved to improve access to health care services, including diagnostic and treatment services, in under resourced communities across the state. Payments to hospitals will be more transparent and the billing system will be simplified for some services like laboratory tests performed by hospitals.
“With this forward-looking program, we are advancing our focus on better healthcare and greater health equity,” said Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Theresa Eagleson. “We are bringing in significant and vital new funding to safety net hospitals and others that serve high percentages of Medicaid members. This is crucial – especially in historically under-served communities of color throughout our state. This renewed program also shifts to more dynamic payments, which means more resources going to the hospitals that our members are choosing for their care. The heroes working in our hospitals and the patients and neighborhoods they serve all need and deserve this critical support.”