Governor JB Pritzker signed Senate Bill 2541 into law on July 7 renewing the Hospital Assessment Program, resulting in $250 million in additional federal funding to ensure Illinois hospitals are equipped during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
State Representative Jeff Keicher (R-Sycamore) commended the bipartisan effort that led to the new Hospital Assessment Program being passed by the Illinois House of Representatives back in May. “Our commitment to meeting the needs of our hospitals is one example of both parties working together to achieve results that have a direct impact on people’s lives. Health care is such an important issue for every local family here in northern Illinois and across the state. I was proud to support this bill and the dedicated men and women of our health care industry on the frontlines of treating patients each and every day.”
The Hospital Assessment Program is a $3.8 billion program that will bring in over $250 million additional federal dollars to the state. The program consists of $450 million in additional funding for hospitals since the last assessment four years ago. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) worked with the General Assembly and stakeholders to distribute funding in a manner that increased funding to all hospitals in Illinois, while prioritizing hospitals that serve a high number of Medicaid patients.
The legislation helps make the Medicaid program more responsive to the needs of individual members on where to seek care. Funding is also reserved to improve access to health care services, including diagnostic and treatment services, in under resourced communities across the state. Payments to hospitals will be more transparent and the billing system will be simplified for some services like laboratory tests performed by hospitals. “With this forward-looking program, we are advancing our focus on better healthcare and greater health equity,” said Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Theresa Eagleson. “We are bringing in significant and vital new funding to safety net hospitals and others that serve high percentages of Medicaid members. This is crucial – especially in historically under-served communities of color throughout our state. This renewed program also shifts to more dynamic payments, which means more resources going to the hospitals that our members are choosing for their care. The heroes working in our hospitals and the patients and neighborhoods they serve all need and deserve this critical support.”