Manar criticizes governor’s Medicaid policy after nursing home announces closing
GIRARD – The announced closure of a central Illinois nursing home that offers skilled care for Alzheimer’s patients is the latest example of Downstate Illinois bearing the brunt of the Rauner administration’s attempt to save money in the Medicaid program, state Sen. Andy Manar said this week.
Pleasant Hill Healthcare, which has been operating in Girard since 1905, announced this week that it will close by September. The backlog of Medicaid determinations under the Rauner administration is a factor in the decision to close. The state owes Pleasant Hill more than $2 million in pending and approved Medicaid payments.
“The backlog of Medicaid determinations under the Rauner administration will continue to push rural nursing homes that already face significant financial pressures to extinction. Some of these facilities are barely hanging on as it is because of the state,” Manar said.
“The governor needs to understand the effects of his policy decisions on real families, real people in the rural communities he visits from time to time. With every nursing home closure on his watch, fragile residents will be uprooted, their families will go through emotional upheaval and more downstate workers will be on the unemployment line.”
Private nursing homes in Illinois are fronting the state $300 million for residential care for residents who are caught up in the state’s Medicaid determination backlog. According to the state comptroller’s office, 15,000 people are waiting for Medicaid eligibility determinations from the state. That’s nearly triple what the backlog was in August 2014.
“Nursing homes across the state continue to feel the impacts of the two-year budget impasse and are squeezed by other factors, such as reimbursement rates that don’t cover the true cost of patient care. The Rauner administration’s gross mismanagement of the Medicaid program and inability to process patients’ eligibility in a timely way is pushing these already stressed facilities, which care for our elderly and disabled residents, to the brink of fiscal disaster,” Comptroller Susana Mendoza said.
“The Rauner administration has known about this. I have sounded the alarm continuously, yet governor Rauner has failed to act again. The governor’s agency needs to get these eligibility determinations processed and the vouchers sent to my office, so I can pay these providers the money they are owed. If not, we will see more nursing homes in the same situation as Pleasant Hill Healthcare.”
Pleasant Hill features an independent and assisted living facility with 48 apartments, which will remain open. However, its skilled nursing home with 98 beds and specialized 24-hour care for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients will close.
More than 60 employees and 61 residents will be affected by the closure.