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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 8, 2002

Governor Ryan Restores $24 Million in Medicaid Funding for Safety Net Hospitals

SPRINGFIELD – Governor George H. Ryan today restored more than $24 million dollars in Medicaid funding for the state’s safety net hospitals that serve high volumes of Medicaid patients or the critical rural hospitals providing Medicaid services in their community.

“These hospitals are important because of the medical services they provide to a large number of low income and disabled persons in Illinois,” Governor Ryan said. “We have heard and understand their concerns and are providing them with some relief in fiscal year 2002 from the budget cuts announced in late November.

"My administration always had this as a priority. Unfortunately, we were faced with unprecedented and unexpected shortfalls due to the events of September 11 and a national economic downturn. We realized these hospitals serve a vital need to these communities and that is why we've worked hard to restore these funds."

Over the past three years, increases in social services have included doubling the funding for the CHIP program--providing health care coverage for those unable to buy private coverage; providing a five-fold increase to nearly $10 million for Healthy Families Illinois--a network of community based programs to assist at-risk new parents and prevent child abuse and neglect; and increasing medical assistance to the poor by 30 percent, providing $300 million in additional Medicaid services for 93,000 elderly, blind or disabled citizens.

During a meeting at the Executive Mansion in Springfield, Ryan told hospital executives from the state’s safety net hospitals that he would restore a total of $24 million in Medicaid payments, including all of the Critical Hospital Adjustment Payments for rural hospitals.

The Governor also will restore between 55 percent and 66 percent of the total rate cuts for 39 inner city hospitals across the state.

“The budget problem in this state is real,” Ryan said. “Today’s action to restore significant funding to these hospitals should not be taken as a sign that we can somehow balance the state budget without making difficult and painful cuts. We must now move on to the fiscal year 2003 budget."

Ryan reminded the hospital executives that during the fall veto session, he asked the General Assembly to pass the legislation necessary to spread the nearly $500 million in budget cuts more fairly. Because legislators adjourned without taking action, the Governor announced $485 million in cuts that could be made administratively, including $114 million in cuts to hospitals providing Medicaid services.

“My administration has maintained a strong commitment to provide health care for poor and disabled citizens in our state,” Ryan said. “That commitment has not wavered, despite the need to balance the budget.“



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