May 12, 2020
In a letter sent Monday to the four leaders of the Illinois General Assembly, IHA President & CEO A.J. Wilhelmi urged the leaders to consider enacting several measures and initiatives to support hospitals and health systems as they continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I need to bring several key COVID-19-related requests to your attention that, if acted on by the legislature, will not only protect the frontline healthcare professionals who are the true heroes of this pandemic, but also allow the healthcare sector of the Illinois economy to lead the state’s re-opening efforts,” said Wilhelmi in the letter.
IHA’s requests on behalf of the hospital community focus on three major areas:
- Civil, Criminal and Administrative Liability Protections: Codifying the Governor’s Executive Order 19;
- Re-opening Illinois’ Healthcare Sector: Expansion of Telehealth Coverage and Reimbursement under Medicaid and Private Insurance; and
- Using Enhanced Federal Medicaid Matching Rate to Pay Down Medicaid Bill Backlog and Provide Enhanced Medicaid Support for COVID-19 Patients
In the letter, Wilhelmi also urges the legislative leaders to protect the state’s healthcare safety net and not impose any Medicaid cuts: “Even before the pandemic, one in four Illinoisans relied on Medicaid for their healthcare coverage to access needed services. With the economy in a serious downturn, many more thousands of Illinoisans will need Medicaid. And with the very real prospect of future, multiple COVID outbreaks – including a possible second surge this fall and winter – it is critical that the state ensure hospitals and health systems have the resources they need to prepare for and deal with such extraordinary circumstances.”
Although it’s not known yet when the General Assembly will reconvene, state lawmakers will have several major issues on their agenda, including the state budget, authorization of Phase 2 of the Hospital Assessment Program, and COVID-19 relief.