Spain looking forward to $3.5 billion hospital assessment bill moving forward
Rep. Ryan Spain (R-Peoria) is pleased SB1773, a $3.5 billion high-level proposal for a new and revised hospital assessment program solely based on matching federal agency funds, is moving forward.
As in a similar hearing Jan. 30, Spain discussed and questioned the program with A.J. Wilhelmi, president and CEO of the Illinois Hospital Association (IHA), at Tuesday's House Appropriations Human Services Committee hearing.
“I know that certainly within our working group, I believe all four caucuses worked extremely collaboratively in a bipartisan manner,” Spain said. “I just want to take us back Mr. Wilhelmi to the important work that was accomplished by the Illinois Hospital Association and the legislature in developing the ACA (Affordable Care Act) access program.”
Spain said to his knowledge, Illinois was one of the first states to really understand and place an emphasis on additional funding that could be made available, which was accomplished under the Obama administration.
“But isn’t it also true that within that administration, it was the direction from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) at that point in time to place a sunset on those ACA dollars simply because, even at that point, the outdated date in place for the Illinois hospital assessment program and the need to modernize the program,” Spain asked.
“That is an important question and the answer is yes,” Wilhelmi said.
He added it was important to note that the decision was made collectively in 2014 on how those funds would be allocated within a four-year time frame.
“The way we allocate the ACA access payments today, and will obviously be modernized under SB1773, is that we take the gross payments that a hospital receives under the assessments and whatever your gross payments are in comparison to the $1.96 billion in assessment payments is the proportion of the ACA access payments you receive,” Wilhelmi said.
He said the other piece to the allocation is the $325 million in rate reform transition funds, which holds similar views from the federal CMS, who wants a new assessment program accomplished by July 2018.
“What we have heard back is that the feds, then and now, have said this needs to be updated, reformed and modernized,” Wilhelmi said.
Spain said he appreciated the explanation and the "understanding that this has been coming for some time.”
“It really is a direction from the federal government that has come out of the really good work that the IHA has done on how to assure we maximize federal funding to hospitals in Illinois through the ACA access program and obviously IHA model to offer these updates now,” Span said.