Mercer County Hospital joins advocacy Day in Springfield to protect Illnois Health Care

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Ted Rogalski, Mercer County Hospital CEO, met with State Senators and Representatives in Springfield during the Illinois Hospital Association’s Hospital Advocacy Day on April 25 to discuss the dire consequences of the Governor’s proposed $2.7 billion cut to Medicaid (23 percent), as well as the critical need for the General Assembly to enact a legislative solution on hospital tax exemption in the spring session.

The Governor’s Medicaid proposal includes a major rate cut to hospitals of about $350 million or approximately 8 percent and about $150 million in other reductions targeted at hospitals. Mr. Rogalski told Senators Jacobs and LaHood and Representatives Verschoore and Moffitt, who represent the hospital’s local legislative districts, that the proposed Medicaid cut is so large and drastic, it would force hospitals across the state to reduce or eliminate health care services or jobs or both, reducing patients’ access to the health care they need.

 “We recognize that the state faces serious financial challenges.” said Rogalski. “However, blunt Medicaid cuts will hurt the most vulnerable populations in our community, hospitals and the health care delivery system. We need a thoughtful, multi-year strategy to transform the Medicaid program to make it as cost effective as possible.”

Rogalski also urged state lawmakers to support and enact a legislative solution to the property tax exemption issue for nonprofit hospitals. The hospital community’s approach on hospital tax exemption as the framework for a legislative solution has the support of major organizations such as the Civic Federation and Illinois Chamber of Commerce, as well as several county boards around the state and 18 members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation. ?

“We are already doing our part to help the state,” said Rogalski. “Hospitals are the fourth largest contributor of revenues to the state, paying $900 million under the Hospital Assessment Program and generating $900 million in federal matching funds for Medicaid. That brings the state more net revenue than the state lottery. Imposing massive Medicaid cuts or new taxes on hospitals are not meaningful, workable solutions to our state’s challenges, but will cause irreparable harm to patients and our community.”

Hospitals’ collective economic impact on Illinois is nearly $79 billion annually. Hospitals are among the top three employers in nearly half of the state’s counties, generating nearly 425,000 direct and indirect jobs for Illinoisans.

Mercer County Hospital is a leading employer in the community  with 149 employees. The hospital is critical to the economic viability of our community as a major source of employment and purchaser of goods and services.  In 2011, Mercer County Hospital had an estimated total economic impact $30,525,087 and helped generate 231 jobs.  Plans are also underway to begin a $11,500,000 renovation of the hospital bringing an influx of construction jobs to the area.

Mercer County Hospital

Mercer County Hospital is a 22-bed critical access hospital located in Aledo, IL and has served the health care needs of Mercer County residents since 1950.  As the only health center in the county, Mercer County Hospital plays a vital role in providing local health care to a diverse population. Mercer County Hospital offers a wide range of inpatient, outpatient, emergency, and community health services delivered by highly qualified health care professionals.  MCH is an affiliate of Genesis Health System, which assists us to perform at the highest levels of quality and safety.  Our employees take great pride in their work and treat every patient as our family and friends.

Illinois Hospital Association

The Illinois Hospital Association, with offices in Naperville, Springfield and Washington, D.C., is an advocate for 200 Illinois hospitals and the patients and communities they serve. Consumers can take action to oppose Medicaid cuts and support hospital tax exemption by visiting  HYPERLINK "http://www.protectillinoishealthcare.org" www.protectillinoishealthcare.org.

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