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CHICAGO – Hospitals that serve Medicaid patients are one step closer to benefiting from federal funding under a measure sponsored by state Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, which was signed into law today.

“The new Medicaid Hospital Assessment Program will ensure that hospitals across the state can continue to receive federal funding to treat Medicaid patients,” Steans said. “Without this legislation, many hospitals would not be able to finance helping some of Illinois’ neediest residents. This new assessment program is fair to patients and hospitals.”

The Medicaid Hospital Assessment Program was designed to leverage federal matching funds to cover the cost of services provided to Medicaid patients in private Illinois hospitals. Hospitals are not reimbursed for the full cost of treating Medicaid patients and rely on these payments. The new program would use more recent patient data and phase in a claims-based payment model over the next six years, rather than distributing a flat payment.

“This was truly a bipartisan effort,” Steans said. “I am grateful for all the time that my colleagues spent negotiating this legislation and working to ensure that service to patients would not be disrupted.”

Without this new assessment program, nearly half of the annual Medicaid payment funds would expire under Illinois statute on June 30, 2018. This legislation still requires federal approval to take effect.