Reforms Hit Naperville

For the senior citizens at Saint Patrick’s Residence, it’s more than a place to socialize and play bingo. It’s home. But the state owes the facility more than $2 million, making it harder for the staff to make the home better for the people staying in their 210 beds.

“Knowing the care and the love that happens here is the most important thing and that’s what we will not let the state take away from us,” said Sister Jeanne Haley, Administrator at St. Patrick’s Residence.

The Medicaid reform legislation that was recently passed in Springfield isn’t going to make it easier. Already facilities across the state are decertifying their beds so Medicaid patients have to find other places to go.

“We can’t take all the Medicaid people that other people aren’t taking anymore,” said Haley. “So my real concern, not only for St. Pat’s but for Illinois, who’s going to take care of Medicaid residents? Where are they going to go? There are not going to be the facilities. There’s not going to be the beds to take care of them and who does the Governor and who does everybody doing all this voting think is going to take care of them?”

Lawmakers in Springfield were looking to fill $2.7 billion budget hole created by Medicaid costs. They recently passed $1.6 billion in cuts, removing about 300,000 people from Medicaid, lowering the reimbursement rate for prescriptions, dental, and eye care, and ending the Illinois Cares Rx program, which helped low income seniors pay for medicine.

“For the most part, this legislation represented the result of a collaboration of legislators who wanted to see the best result for Illinois,” said Darlene Senger, State Representative for the 96th District. “No legislation is perfect, but compromise never yields perfect results.”

Medicaid reform is also going to be hitting hospitals across the state. At Adventist Bolingbrook, officials say it shouldn’t impact patients.

“We don’t ask questions about their ability to pay when patients come to us through the emergency room or are admitted,” said Rick Mace, President and CEO of Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital. “We worry about that after the fact. We take care of the patient first.”

Part of the reforms mean a lower reimbursement rate for hospitals, and about a quarter of Adventist Bolingbrook’s patients receive Medicaid coverage. The hospital says they budgeted for the percentage cut.

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