Lawmakers Push to Pass Hospital Assessment Funding

Feb 7, 2018

Democrats in Springfield are pushing ahead with a plan hospitals say can’t come soon enough. It’s worth billions of dollars for treating some of the state’s most vulnerable people.

It’s called the Hospital Assessment Program, and it’s how the state pulls in billions of dollars in federal money to treat elderly, poor and disabled patients on the Medicaid program.

The two political parties have been negotiating in private for months, and now Democrats are pushing the debate out into the open.

State Rep. Greg Harris is a Democrat from Chicago. He’s putting out what he calls a draft proposal, but acknowledges some parts of the final bill need to be ironed out.

“We’re putting it out in plenty of time for members of the public to read and understand it, and give their feedback.”

So far both sides seem to agree more money should go to what are known as “safety net hospitals” — which tend to serve a greater number of low-income or uninsured patients.

Time is running out: The current funding scheme — and the federal money that goes with it — expires on July first.