Oba­macare means piles of un­paid bills at Ill. nurs­ing homes

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - —Kris­ten Schorsch, Crain’s Chicago Busi­ness

The mas­sive ex­pan­sion of Med­i­caid un­der Oba­macare has had an un­in­tended con­se­quence in Illi­nois, leav­ing nurs­ing homes in the lurch as the state sits on a moun­tain of un­paid bills.

The state doesn’t know how much it owes nurs­ing homes and other longterm-care fa­cil­i­ties, some of which have gone a year or more with­out get­ting paid. But the fig­ure is likely in the hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars.

About $129 mil­lion of what is owed has been ap­proved and is wait­ing to be paid by the Illi­nois Comp­trol­ler’s Of­fice. An­other es­ti­mated $185 mil­lion in bills is be­ing pro­cessed at the Illi­nois Depart­ment of Health­care and Fam­ily Ser­vices, which over­sees Med­i­caid. But the to­tal amount likely is much higher be­cause of a back­log of pend­ing ap­pli­ca­tions still mak­ing their way through the sys­tem. There are about 1,100 long-term-care providers in Illi­nois.

Peo­ple who qual­ify for Med­i­caid and need long-term care must un­dergo a more strin­gent re­view than typ­i­cal en­rollees. But the state doesn’t have enough case­work­ers—or the money to hire more—to get the job done in a timely man­ner, par­tic­u­larly as it is also deal­ing with a crush of 359,000 peo­ple who joined the Med­i­caid rolls be­cause of Oba­macare.

That’s left nurs­ing homes on the hook as they let res­i­dents with pend­ing ap­pli­ca­tions live in their fa­cil­i­ties es­sen­tially at no charge while hop­ing that the back­log eases.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.