January 13, 2009
Thank you for the January 9 editorial “After he’s gone” describing how with all the attention being paid to ousting Governor Rod Blagojevich, Illinois is currently facing a financial disaster. The editorial notes that nursing homes, day care centers, substance abuse clinics and programs for persons with disabilities are being stretched to their limits, trying to pay their bills while waiting for the state to pay what it owes them.
Right now, Illinois nursing homes are confronting a huge financial crisis that threatens to place the well being of thousands of elderly residents in peril. More than two-thirds of nursing home residents depend on Medicaid payments from the state to pay for their care. Most nursing homes have just now received Medicaid payments for the health care services they provided these residents in July 2008, and may not receive more than one or two more monthly payments during the next six months. This means that the state will soon be nine months or more behind in making payments to these facilities.
For years, nursing homes have had to operate never knowing when their next Medicaid payments would come. In the past, they were able to get short-term loans to help them through the difficult times. Now, with our current economy, getting these loans is proving to be difficult. Nursing homes are now having difficulties making their payrolls and paying their bills, putting the care for thousands of frail elderly residents in jeopardy.
Providing quality care to our state’s nursing home residents should be a top priority for our state. Thanks again for your January 9 editorial that puts a spotlight on the dangerous financial situation being faced by nursing homes and other providers that care for our state’s most fragile populations.
Health Care Council of Illinois
Illinois Council of Long Term Care
Illinois Health Care Association