Ill. Medicaid cuts fall short of projected savings

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 21, 2013 at 5:41 pm •  Published: February 21, 2013

Another obstacle to achieving all the projected cuts: The federal government denied permission to carry out some planned cuts that would have changed the way people are deemed to be eligible for nursing home care, preventing savings of several million dollars.

The Illinois Hospital Association won changes to rules that will mean $30 million in cost savings won't be achieved, Hamos said. The state had planned to stop paying for entire hospital stays when certain mistakes happen — such as a surgical sponge left inside a patient. But that plan "was basically gutted," Hamos said, after the hospital association made its case to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules.

Danny Chun, of the Illinois Hospital Association, countered that the original draft rule violated federal regulations. The hospital group and Illinois officials have since negotiated a compromise that will mean a deduction of $900 on a hospital bill when there's a hospital-acquired infection or other mistake, Chun said.

The Medicaid cuts limit patients to four prescription drugs per month without prior approval. Rep. Greg Harris, a Chicago Democrat, said he'd like to see future reports on how that's going for people with severe mental illnesses. If most are gaining authorization for their drugs because they clearly need them, Harris said, it may be wiser to drop the red tape.

"Are we just creating bureaucracy?" he asked. "I think we need to be monitoring for unintended consequences that push the costs out someplace else."


AP Medical Writer Carla K. Johnson can be reached at