HFS Receives Federal Approval for Plan to Assist Illinois Hospitals

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

The Department of Healthcare and Family (HFS) has received federal approval to make $120 million in one-time payments to Illinois hospitals that provide Medicaid services. The funding will help maintain the financial health of the state’s hospitals, which are key economic engines for every region of Illinois.

The payments are a result of House Bill 542, signed into law last year by Governor Pat Quinn. The bill allowed HFS to accelerate both hospital-specific taxes and payments in order to maximize the increased federal Medicaid match rate available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). This move allowed the state to maximize available federal dollars at no additional cost to Illinois taxpayers.

“I am thrilled to announce that HFS will soon begin making these additional one-time payments to Illinois hospitals without increased cost to the taxpayers of Illinois,” said HFS Director Julie Hamos. “In these tough economic times, we have been called to do the best we can with what we have, and I believe that maximizing federal funding is the key to accomplishing that goal, and our agency has done an outstanding job at trying to capture as much federal monies as possible”.

The 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. HB 542 allowed the state to pay out the second half of this year’s hospital assessment payments in the first half of this year. Due to the current increased Medicaid match rate through ARRA, that action of accelerating payments generated additional federal matching dollars which the state will now use to make these one-time payments.

These payments will assist hospitals throughout Illinois that provide critical services to over 2.5 million of the state’s most vulnerable citizens. The amount each hospital will receive is set by state statute in HB 542. Priority was given to rural access hospitals and those that treat high volumes of Medicaid patients. The payments were also based on the types and levels of medical services they provide for HFS clients.

For a complete list of hospitals receiving payments, please visit our website at www.hfs.illinois.gov/hospitalstimulus