McCombie Co-Signs Letter Urging Rural Critical Access Hospitals receive Hospital Transformation Funding Consideration

The following letter was sent to Illinois Healthcare and Family Services Director Theresa Eagleson on November 18 by Republican members of the Hospital Transformation Working Group.

November 18, 2020

Director Theresa Eagleson, HFS
Prescott Bloom Building
201 South Second Street
Springfield, IL 62763

Dear Director Eagleson:

As members of the House Republican Caucus, we are aware that you are working with the Medicaid Working Group to address issues related to healthcare disparities across the State of Illinois. It is also our understanding that you are currently discussing Hospital Transformation funding for the State.

As Legislators, we represent areas across the entire State, including central and downstate Illinois. Our districts are challenged with not only access to healthcare but certainly access to hospital care. In many of our districts our constituents travel across several counties to receive hospital care. For our constituents it is not only an issue of specialty care but simply immediate care. We encounter severe medical deserts across the state, but especially in central and downstate Illinois. Poverty knows no boundaries in our state and certainly our districts suffer equally as other areas of the state. The USDA published a research article in May of this year. In that research they found that in 2018, all the extreme poverty counties were in rural America.

The health care needs of the rural communities many of us represent can best be protected by ensuring Critical Access Hospitals receive sufficient and equitable access to Hospital Transformation funding. Workers in the agricultural and meat-packing industries, many of whom are Black and Brown, rely on Critical Access Hospitals as their primary source of care.

Because access to care strongly correlates to an individual’s income level, we believe that maintaining an income-based formula in allocating Hospital Transformation funding will ensure that the unique health care needs of our constituents are met, while also ensuring an equitable and fair distribution of funding statewide.

We urge you to take this information into consideration as you continue to develop a plan for Hospital Transformation funding for Illinois. Using an overlay of designated poverty areas across the state is the first step in ensuring that this funding is fair and equitable across all counties.

Thank you for your time and consideration of our concerns.

The letter was co-signed by members of the House Republican caucus, including Rep. McCombie. The full letter is available at: