SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) — State lawmakers and advocates say Illinois must do a better job of investing in health care for underserved communities.
Rep. Anna Moeller (D-Elgin) and the Illinois Primary Health Care Association are calling for a boost in funding for federally qualified health centers like SIU Medicine and Crossing Health Care.
Moeller told reporters Wednesday that her proposal is vital to providing reimbursement rates for medical, dental, and behavioral health care that people receive for free.
“Insufficient investment prevents us from optimally meeting the needs of our patients and our community,” said IPCHA Chair Verneda Bachus. “While working in community health centers in other states, encounter rates and reimbursement for community health center services were much higher allowing the health center to better cover its costs for providing services.”
Advocates believe a $100 million increase in funding could allow federally qualified health centers to care for 180,000 more people each year and hire 250 additional health care providers.
“In the long run, we’ll end up saving the state money because we are providing preventative care and treating patients before their problems become acute where the care becomes much more expensive,” Moeller said.
The federal government would cover half of the $100 million investment. This plan could be considered in budget negotiations. Lawmakers plan to pass the Fiscal Year 2024 budget for the scheduled adjournment on May 19.
“So many people in our neighborhoods have gone too long without proper access to health care, without dental care, without mental health treatment,” said Sen. Robert Peters (D-Chicago). “With our state’s strong financial position, we must take a step forward to help people served by community health centers and join our neighboring states to better use federal money to promote better physical and mental health.”
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April 19, 2023 at 07:12PM