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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 1, 2000

Governor Ryan Announces $8 Million Loan To Keep Hospital Open

CHICAGO - Governor George H. Ryan today announced the state will loan $8 million to Mount Sinai Health Systems to help continue health care access for residents of Chicago's south and west sides.

Because of the low-income population that Mt. Sinai serves and the amount of care the hospital provides to Medicaid clients, the governor determined that it was important that Mt. Sinai remain open and accessible to the community.

"With these funds, we will be able to improve the physical infrastructure and let the hospital concentrate on the human infrastructure," Ryan said. "We want to send a message to the federal government that we are committed to keeping Mt. Sinai open and accessible."

Mt. Sinai Hospital officials were notified in January, 2000 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Health Care Financing Authority that the hospital was out of compliance with federal regulators due to existence of life safety code deficiencies. The hospital system was granted an extension of the termination from February 1st to March 1, 2000 after passing federal safety inspections.

In order to remain eligible for federal health care funding, Mt. Sinai must demonstrate by March 1st "credible evidence" of financing for the completion of all work necessary to remain in compliance with federal rules governing the physical environment of hospitals and must demonstrate effective implementation of the plan on an ongoing basis.

"When we learned of their situation, my staff worked with Mt. Sinai representatives to put together a financing package. In addition, the hospital is contributing private funds to this solution," Ryan said.

Medicaid covers nearly 62 percent of the hospital's patients. Ryan said Mt. Sinai is the largest provider of uncompensated care in Illinois. In addition, more than 10 percent of the patients are uninsured. "These walls have sheltered thousands of patients. Without this facility, many of those patients would have suffered serious physical impairment and maybe even death," he added.

Mount Sinai has been recognized for stellar maternal and infant care facilities and an impressive neo-natal intensive care unit. Annually, 3,500 babies are delivered at the hospital, which is one of only four trauma centers in Chicago. The hospital system provides trauma care to more than 2,000 patients a year and emergency care is given annually to another 40,000 patients.

Mount Sinai officials have also worked diligently to enroll families in KidCare. KidCare is Illinois' program to extend health insurance benefits to pregnant women and children who are not otherwise able to get healthcare because they lack insurance. The number of children and pregnant women enrolled in the KidCare program has nearly tripled since January 1999. Of the approximate 200,000 people eligible for KidCare, more than 87,000 have enrolled to date.


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