Governor Bruce Rauner signed bipartisan legislation today that protects safety net and rural hospitals while ensuring continued federal support for quality healthcare to more than three million Illinoisans.

Senate Bill 1773 ensures the state will continue to receive federal matching funds to offer services for Medicaid beneficiaries through the Hospital Assessment Program, which brings in $3.5 billion annually.

The Hospital Assessment Program is set to expire at the end of June. A bipartisan group of legislators worked with the Illinois Health and Hospital Association and the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) to redesign the program, create a more equitable reimbursement process, and ensure more efficient use of taxpayer dollars.

“Our teams worked hard to make sure our most vulnerable citizens can continue to receive quality medical services and to keep hospitals in underserved communities,” Gov. Rauner said. “I’d like to thank all the legislators, state officials, and stakeholders who worked to restructure the program. Their unwavering dedication will help keep the Medicaid program sustainable for the future.”

The state currently uses old data sets, sometimes based on care that was provided as far back as 2005, to reimburse hospitals for Medicaid services. The new model will use updated data and also ensure that more of the reimbursements are based on actual services hospitals provide. It also dedicates more than $260 million to help hospitals transform their operations to better serve their communities, such as offering more urgent and outpatient care.

“This legislation increases dynamic, claims-based payments so that dollars follow services for Medicaid patients, and it updates outdated utilization data that doesn’t reflect the current delivery of services,” said Felicia Norwood, Director of HFS. “Healthcare delivery and where our beneficiaries receive their care has changed dramatically over the last ten years and our hospital reimbursement structure should recognize these changes. The new program draws down as much federal revenue as we believe is permissible and helps hospitals transition to more effective healthcare delivery models over time.”

The Federal government will need to sign off on the new terms of the program before it can take effect.

PEORIA… State Representative Ryan Spain (R-Peoria) passed Senate Joint Resolution 35 in the Illinois House on Tuesday, March 6th honoring the life of Senior Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens by designating Illinois State Route 29 in Chillicothe as the “Senior Chief Petty Officer William ‘Ryan’ Owens Memorial Highway”.

“This is the most important actions we take in this chamber; honoring our fallen heroes,” said Rep. Ryan Spain in advocating passage of SJR 35 in the Illinois House.

“Ryan Owens grew up in the 73rd District, attended Illinois Valley Central High School in Chillicothe and was the first American combat death of 2017. Ryan played football and baseball for the IVC Grey Ghosts and wanted to be a navy seal ever since he was a freshman in high school. He wanted to serve his country and this past January, made the ultimate sacrifice in doing just that,” continued Rep. Spain.

Ryan Owens was fatally wounded during a night raid against Al-Qa’ida in Yemen with his elite counter-terrorism unit, SEAL team 6. Defense Secretary James Mattis praised Owens’ service saying he, “gave his full measure for our nation and in performing his duty, he upheld the noblest standard of military service.”