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Illinois Hospital Association Commends Governor for Protecting Health Care in State Budget Proposal
Date:3/19/2009

NAPERVILLE, Ill., March 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Illinois Hospital Association (IHA) today lauded Governor Pat Quinn for making health care a top priority in his state budget proposal for fiscal year 2010 and for not cutting critically needed Medicaid funding that supports care for more than two million Illinoisans.

"In these extremely difficult economic times, we are gratified that the Governor wants to preserve Medicaid funding for hospitals in the state budget and that he is committed to taking the necessary steps to address the Medicaid backlog," said Ken Robbins, president of IHA, an organization that represents 200 hospitals and health systems statewide.

By paying old Medicaid bills - many dating from last summer - for health care services already provided by hospitals, the state will be eligible to receive nearly $3 billion in additional federal Medicaid matching funds under the economic stimulus law. Under the stimulus law, the state must meet a prompt pay provision on Medicaid bills by this June in order to qualify for the increased federal funding.

"In addition, we applaud the Governor for his efforts to invest in the future of the health care delivery system by including $100 million for hospital facility, technology and equipment needs in his state capital budget proposal," said Robbins.

The current economic crisis has forced many hospitals to postpone capital projects. A recent IHA survey of its members found that 50 percent are having moderate or significant problems gaining access to capital, 73 percent have deferred current plans for capital investments for general maintenance and repairs, and 79 percent are postponing future capital investments.

"In his address, the Governor noted that the state's economic recovery depends not just on creating jobs but also on protecting our children and senior citizens by not cutting health care funding," Robbins said. "Hospitals are an essential part of the health care safety net for our most vulnerable citizens, so we applaud the Governor for making sure that they and the health care system are protected. We urge legislators to support and approve his budget plan."

The Illinois Hospital Association, with offices in Naperville and Springfield, is an advocate for 200 hospitals and health systems and the patients and communities they serve. For more information, see IHA's web site, www.ihatoday.org.


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SOURCE Illinois Hospital Association
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