CHICAGO - Gov. Rod Blagojevich today learned that the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved his plan for securing $1.8 billion in new federal funding to strengthen Illinois’ health care system over three years. The state’s Hospital Assessment plan will help Illinois hospitals continue to recruit and retain doctors, provide advanced medical care, and serve Illinois’ most vulnerable patients.
“This is a great day for health care in Illinois. We’ve been on a mission to make sure that everyone in Illinois can get the health care they need, and nearly $2 billion in new federal funds for hospitals will help us get there,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “I want to thank HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, Senator Jeff Schoenberg, Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, and all the members of the coalition that fought for this assessment, including the Illinois legislature, the Department of Healthcare and Family Services and the Illinois Hospitals Association.”
Senate Bill 157, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Schoenberg (D-Evanston) and Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago), created the three-year assessment on Illinois hospitals. The law, which the Governor signed in July 2005, replaced the former hospital assessment program that provided $430 million in federal funding, and ended on July 1, 2005.
A hospital assessment program is a federally permissible method for states to leverage their resources in order to attract additional federal matching funds into their state health care systems. Revenue generated by the assessment will boost the amount the state receives in matching funds from the federal government. Illinois will leverage additional federal resources of $600 million to the state’s health care network in years 2006, 2007 and 2008. The state’s hospitals will benefit by $470 million per year. Additionally, the state will use $130 million per year to help with additional Medicaid health care needs such as funding for nursing homes, the developmentally disabled and other Medicaid services. The proposed assessment plan will end on July 1, 2008.
Each region of the state will receive a substantial share of the benefits of this program:
• Chicagoland: $855 million over three years. A yearly increase of $90 million from the last assessment.
• Quad Cities: $57 million over three years. A yearly increase of $9 million from the last assessment.
• Rockford: $60 million over three years. A yearly increase of $8 million from the last assessment.
• Peoria, Bloomington-Normal: Nearly $72 million over three years. A yearly increase of more than $6 million from the last assessment.
• Central Illinois: $165 million over three years. A yearly increase of $26 million from the last assessment.
• Metro East: $120 million over three years. A yearly increase of more than $16 million from the last assessment.
• Western Illinois: $18 million over three years. A yearly increase of $2 million from the last assessment
• Southern Illinois: $63 million over three years. A yearly increase of nearly $5 million from the last assessment
Additionally, $390 million over three years will be distributed throughout the state for other Medicaid needs including nursing homes and funding for the developmentally disabled.
Before last year’s successful assessment, it had been over 10 years since Illinois submitted a hospital assessment plan to the federal government for approval, in turn forgoing hundreds of millions of federal health care dollars from coming into the state of Illinois. The Blagojevich administration was able to forge a broad-based, bi-partisan coalition in 2003 that led the effort to getting an assessment plan approved by the Illinois General Assembly and the federal government.