Elgin hospitals: Medicaid cuts will hurt — but not as badly as feared
By Emily McFarlan email@example.com June 14, 2012 9:30PM
Updated: July 16, 2012 6:29AM
ELGIN — The city’s two hospitals will feel some financial pain from planned state cuts in Medicaid payments, but not as much as they could have been had the legislation not included some other beneficial programs for them.
“Any cuts are going to hurt a little bit, and they’ll certainly hurt Sherman a little bit,” said Ian Jones, vice president of clinical performance at Sherman Hospital.
But Jones said the impact of the $1.6 billion in cuts to Medicaid programs that Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law Thursday will be offset by local services and enhancements to programs included in the package of bills signed by the governor.
And Provena Saint Joseph Hospital echoed the Illinois Hospital Association, which announced Thursday it “applauded” the legislation.
Maryjane A. Wurth, president and CEO of the Naperville-based Illinois Hospital Association, called those bills “of great importance to patients and the state’s health care delivery system.”
“We applaud the governor and the Illinois General Assembly for their hard work and courage in making difficult decisions during these challenging economic times and for their commitment to the health of Illinoisans,” Wurth said in a statement.
The General Assembly had incorporated many of the association’s recommendations into Senate Bill 2840, the Save Medicaid Access and Resources Together (SMART) Act, she said. The package also included Senate Bill 2194, which will raise taxes on cigarettes and enhance the state’s Hospital Assessment Program.
That will cost Sherman Hospital in Elgin about $500,000 to $700,000 of the $23 million it receives annually from Medicaid, according to Jones.
One thing that will “mitigate” those cuts is the enhanced Hospital Assessment Program, he said. That program takes in money from all Illinois hospitals, then redistributes it based on how many Medicaid patients each hospital serves.
Another is a strong system of federally qualified health centers designed to treat patients who are uninsured or on Medicaid, he said. That includes the Greater Elgin Family Care Center, VNA of Fox Valley and Aunt Martha’s Youth Service Center and Health Center.
“Because of the fiscal situation the state finds itself in and the increase in the number of people on Medicaid, the current rate has to be reduced,” Jones said.