Syverson calls passage of revised hospital assessment program a 'great day for Illinois'
Senate Deputy Republican Leader Dave Syverson (R-Rockford) said March 12 was a great day for Illinois.
At an afternoon signing of SB1773, which revises and updates the state's hospital assessment program and could be worth $3.5 billion in federal funding, Syverson, Gov. Bruce Rauner, and GOP and Democratic lawmakers gathered to sign off on the legislation that took almost six months for lawmakers to prepare with Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Felicia Norwood.
“I represent the Rockford area and when you get to downstate areas, hospitals are a huge economic engine,” Syverson said, stressing the importance of getting the hospital assessment program, which is matched by federal funds, right the first time by updating the Medicaid formula from the last assessment 12 years ago based on population.
“I also want to thank the Hospital Association," Syverson said. "They are huge providers of charitable work throughout the state. Most people don’t realize the amount of reaching out that they do in their own communities to make sure people get the health care they need.”
However, the money is not a sure thing, according to Norwood, who said the state plan must be submitted to the federal government and “ultimately their approval is necessary to make sure we can continue these essential services and this funding in the state of Illinois.”
If approved, some of the $3.5 billion would fund a graduate medical information program, which will help assist Illinois in training the next generation of physicians and other medical personnel to provide needed access to other Medicaid beneficiaries, Norwood said.
Rauner didn’t seem to have a doubt the program would pass federal approval.
“Today shows what we can do on a bipartisan basis by working together to overcome challenges,” Rauner said. “Today we are signing a very good piece ... of legislation for Medicaid funding.”
According to Syverson, medical service is “one of the bright spots about Illinois,” adding the Prairie State has the best health care system in the nation, which is why lawmakers must ensure they maintain all needed managed care organizations programs.