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Illinois Nursing Home Stakeholders Speak Out Against Proposed Medicaid Cuts

April 26, 2012

Consumers, workers, and other stakeholders in the Illinois nursing home industry are voicing their opposition to a proposed 18 percent cut to the state Medicaid program.

Details of the potentially devastating round of cuts began to emerge on April 19. According to published reports, Governor Pat Quinn (D) wants to slash Medicaid rolls by 215,000 while lowering Medicaid reimbursement rates for doctors, hospitals, and nursing homes.

Quinn’s plan would save the state $2.7 billion.

A Quick Response

Nursing home stakeholders responded immediately to the threat. The Health Care Council of Illinois (HCCI), an organization representing nursing homes, scheduled a 17-stop protest tour to speak out against the cuts. HCCI held rallies in Rockford and Chicago during the weekend of April 21-22.

If enacted, the drastic Medicaid cuts would cause thousands of elders to be kicked out of their nursing homes, according to HCCI Executive Director Pat Comstock.

“What will happen to some of these residents is that they may not be able to stay here. They may lose their home,” Comstock told WBBM, a Chicago-area television network.

Report Shows Folly of Cuts

On April 25, the Campaign for Better Care and Families USA released a joint report (pdf) documenting the economic toll Quinn’s cuts would take on Illinois.

The report finds that the proposed $2.7 billion worth of cuts to Medicaid would put more than 25,000 jobs at risk and cost the state $3.3 billion in economic activity.

Many of those imperiled jobs would be in the nursing home industry, the report says.

“Cuts could mean jobs lost for [nursing] facilities’ employees, such as aides, nurses, pharmacists, and facility maintenance and management staff,” the report states. “Inadequate staffing lessens the quality of care that facilities are able to provide.”

— by Matthew Ozga

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