Health Care Council of Illinois Warns Medicare Cuts Threaten Nursing Home Care

Eleven percent rate cut takes effect Oct. 1

Aug 04, 2011, 15:31 ET from Health Care Council of Illinois

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Aug. 4, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Health Care Council of Illinois (HCCI), a leading voice for the nursing home community in Illinois, warns an 11 percent cut in Medicare reimbursement rates will have a serious impact on nursing home care across the state. The federal government announced the lower rate last week.

"Illinois already has the lowest Medicaid reimbursement rate in the country, so this is yet another serious blow," Pat Comstock, executive director of HCCI, said. "We depend on Medicare dollars to help offset what Medicaid doesn't cover."

The new Medicare rate is set to take effect October 1. Comstock said it's not yet clear what the reduced Medicare dollars will mean for facilities across the state. "Clearly, we don't want to cut staff," she continued. "But, when 70 cents of every dollar we spend goes to staffing costs, it's tough to see how we can avoid making cuts."

During the last legislative session, the State of Illinois imposed a delayed payment in Medicaid reimbursement funds for fiscal year 2012, avoiding a cut in the reimbursement rate and preserving an estimated 7,000 jobs that would have been lost. "Illinois legislators came to our defense in May. We certainly hope the Illinois Congressional Delegation will do everything they can to restore funding," Comstock said.

The Health Care Council of Illinois (HCCI) is a professional association of more than 500 nursing facilities committed to quality residential health care in Illinois through a productive and responsible partnership between the private and public sectors. HCCI represents more than 80,000 nursing home professionals serving more than 80,000 residents.

SOURCE Health Care Council of Illinois