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HFS prepares for implementation of nursing home rate reform

10 May 2022 6:44 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

Medicaid Administrator Kelly Cunningham said Monday the Department of Healthcare and Family Services is preparing for the implementation of nursing home rate reform. [Health News Illinois 5.10.2022] 
The plan, passed unanimously last month by the General Assembly and awaiting Gov. JB Pritzker’s signature, phases in a patient-driven payment model and allocates dedicated funding for staffing increases and workforce transformation.
Cunningham told members of the Medicaid Advisory Committee there are a variety of steps that need to be taken to implement the effort, including state plan amendments and other work necessary “when legislation of this magnitude passes.”
Committee members praised the department and stakeholders for reaching an agreement to change how nursing homes are funded in Illinois.
“This bill should lay the foundation for … additional accountabilities on behalf of the residents of the nursing homes, and particularly those who have Medicaid as their payer,” said Dr. Cheryl Rucker-Whitaker MD, MPH.
In other business, HFS Communications Director Evan Fazio said they continue to work to update contact information for Medicaid recipients ahead of the public health emergency ending.
State officials say they have been told they will receive a 60-day notice before the emergency ends, which is currently set for July. 
Fazio said they have a messaging toolkit on the agency’s website and have worked with providers to communicate with Medicaid recipients that redeterminations will restart once the emergency ends. He said thousands of people have used the toolkit since it launched earlier this year.
The agency is also working with the Departments of Human Services and Information and Technology to create texting technology to better stay in touch with Medicaid recipients too.
“So as the public health emergency winds down, we want to keep as many people as possible enrolled,” Fazio said. “We want to reduce churn. We want to reduce inequities in coverage.”
Additionally, HFS Deputy Director ​of Community Outreach Kimberly McCullough-Starks told members they are still “knee-deep” in reviewing applications for the next wave of transformation funding, though she did not provide a timeline for when it may be announced. 
She added that previous grant recipients remain on track to meet their funding milestones.


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