Hospitals worry about cuts amid medicaid changes

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SPRINGFIELD — Legislative leaders have been meeting the past week, trying to figure out a replacement for Illinois’ hospital assessment program, the system Illinois uses to distribute Medicaid dollars.

The formula hasn’t been updated in more than a decade and it expires at the end of June.

“What we are afraid of is that it will come down to such a place that we will have to dramatically cut the providers that are here serving the patients,” Crossroads Community Hospital CEO Amanda Basso said.

She worries the updated formula could mean funding cuts.

“My understanding is that rural community hospitals such as Crossroads and the patients we serve could stand to lose a lot,” Basso said.

Another one of those rural hospitals is in Hardin County.

CEO Roby Williams said he’s concerned about $1 million in funding cuts.

“If that had taken place and there had been a million-dollar reduction, it would’ve been disastrous for us,” Williams said. “I’m not sure we could have survived it.”

The good news for these hospitals is that talks appear to be moving away from steep funding cuts. That’s according to Rep. Natalie Phelps Finnie (D-Elizabethtown).

“They’re still in negotiations,” Phelps Finnie said. “I haven’t seen the most recent numbers but they do seem to be improving as far as our safety-net hospital situation is concerned.”

Rep. Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) sounds optimistic as well. She told News 3 negotiations are wrapping up and they’ll likely have a bill to vote on next week.

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