SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza’s office announced the release of $800.8 million for healthcare services today. The office worked in collaboration with the Dept. of Healthcare and Family Services to maximize federal reimbursements in order to issue these payments this week.
The funds were distributed to eleven Managed Care Organizations across the state. Nearly 2 million of the state’s Medicaid patients receive coordinated care through these organizations, which disseminate payments to health care providers. This means neighborhood clinics, mental health counselors, home care providers -- people who provide health care around the state -- will see some long-awaited relief. Payment of these bills will allow the state to bring in about $418 million in federal matching dollars.
"While this brings some welcome relief to long-suffering health care providers, it covers only a third of the bills my office has received from them," Mendoza said. "The truth is, this is fleeting good news made possible by the state's best month of the year for revenues: April, when the state collects the largest share of taxes from the hard-working people of Illinois. Without a budget, there will not be enough money to pay health care providers as we enter the lean summer months. Companies will go out of business. Clinics will close. And Illinois will get sicker. It is urgent that the Governor present his plan to balance the budget -- free from pet-project demands -- and work with the Legislature to pass a budget before the spring legislative session ends on May 31."
This is on top of money released to the state’s safety net hospitals on a monthly basis. Without a budget, these health care payments are only possible because of judicial orders.
This help comes days after $881 million in Mandated Categorical Grants and General State Aid payments were issued to K-12 schools. The increased revenues the state brings in during income tax season gave the Comptroller's office a limited window of flexibility in order to make these health care and K-12 education payments and to nominally reduce the state’s bill backlog. However this improved cash flow will not last as the state’s backlog of bills are excepted to rise once again.
The Comptroller’s office will continue to prioritize payments to the state’s most vulnerable, including the elderly, residents with disabilities and those in need of hospice care to the extent possible with limited state funds. But without a complete and responsible state budget, the office does not have the authority to make payments for many services, like resources for children with autism, meals for seniors and care and protection for victims of domestic violence. Likewise, without a budget the Comptroller's office cannot legally make payments to the state’s public universities and community colleges, including scholarships for lower-income students.
If a budget is not passed and signed into law, the outlook for schools, health care providers, social service organizations and those who do business with the state will only deteriorate. Delays in payments will increase, and the bill backlog, which today stands at $12.7 billion, will grow. Without a budget, the people of Illinois and service providers should brace themselves and prepare for impact.
You can view the PDF version of this release here.