Hardin Co. Hospital Administrator Says Hospital Assessment Program Must Survive

Mar 5, 2018

A southern Illinois hospital says it'll be able to keep its doors open if Governor Bruce Rauner signs a measure into law.

Illinois lawmakers have overwhelmingly approved a plan that revamps the way hospitals are paid for treating low-income patients. The current "Hospital Assessment Program" expires in July - and with it billions of dollars in federal matching funds.

Hardin County General Hospital administrator Roby Williams says most of his facility's income from Medicaid comes through the program.

"I could tell you it would be extremely difficult for us to survive. But, I could probably even do more and say it probably would've been impossible for us to survive if the program had sunset altogether."

Williams says some people in the community think the $1.6 million in assessment funds are extra money for his facility. But, he says that's not the case.
"If you take everything we get on claims payments and everything we receive from the assessment program, we still don't even get our costs covered. A major part of our Medicaid reimbursement comes through that program."
Williams says over 80-percent of the hospital's patients are covered by either Medicaid or Medicare and a high number are covered by Medicare with Medicaid as their secondary insurer.

Williams says he understands the governor will sign the measure shortly.

The plan would then need federal approval. Williams says the Department of Healthcare and Family Services has told him it could happen before this summer's expiration date.