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Cook County Hospital gets increase in funding for uninsured
Tuesday, May 05, 2009 Evanston Sentinel by Bennett Johnson
The Cook County Health
& Hospitals System (CCHHS)
has reached an agreement with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family
Services (HFS) that will provide CCHHS Disproportionate Share (DSH) program
revenues for State Fiscal Year 2009 at an estimated $70 million more than in
State Fiscal year 2008.
This funding increase is related to the recently approved intergovernmental
agreement, federal and state Medicaid state plan amendment, and state law
passed by the General Assembly in 2008 and is intended to support medical care
and services by CCHHS for Medicaid and the uninsured. The agreement has
been signed by the appropriate County officials and is expected to be signed by
These revenues help supplant losses the System endured including the more than
$100 million in supplemental Medicaid revenue that was lost in recent years due
to federal regulations phasing down permissible reimbursements to public
hospitals and the significant growth in the uninsured which resulted in
hundreds of millions in cost. CCHHS is the largest provider of Medicaid
and uncompensated care in the state by a large margin. The government
funding “should help the long term viability of the County health System,”
Interim Chief Executive Officer David Small said.
DSH funding is the singular source of federal funding to assist hospitals with
the costs of caring for the uninsured. The Cook County Health
and Hospitals System is the top provider of safety net healthcare services
in the State of Illinois. In
December, 2008, the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
approved a Medicaid State Plan Amendment allowing for renewal of the Illinois
Hospital Assessment Program bringing billions in funding to Illinois
hospitals over 5 years beginning July, 2008.
As part of that approval, CCHHS hospitals were approved by CMS to participate
in the drawing from Illinois'
DSH allocation to help offset costs of caring for the uninsured. For more
than a year, CCHHS management has worked intensively in partnership with HFS to
seek means to remediate the Medicaid losses incurred by the System over recent
years. These DSH monies help do so. As has been true for more
than fifteen years, CookCounty remains a net contributor to the State of Illinois Medicaid program, adding no net costs to the
State of Illinois Medicaid
“On behalf of the staff and the residents served by CCHHS, we want to express
our gratitude to State Legislative leadership for enacting the enabling
legislation in support of the Hospital Assessment and Disproportionate Share
Medicaid State Plan Amendments. We thank also Director Maram, HFS staff,
the Office of the President of the Cook County Board, the Board of Commissioners,
and CMS for their collaboration over many months in seeking means to assist the
financing of medical care to those most in need”, Small added.
“Finally, CCHHS thanks the Obama Administration and the Illinois
Congressional delegation, with special gratitude to Senators Durbin and Burris for
their attention in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to Medicaid
financing, raising state DSH allotments, and other funding streams to improve
healthcare delivery and access for those most in need in this time of
extraordinary economic crisis.”
The Cook County Health and Hospitals System Board of Directors
approved a new procurement policy that will move the health system one step improve
operations and the delivery of services mandated by the Cook County Board of
Commissioners when it created the independent board, according to System
The measure will create a centralized purchasing system for all the System
healthcare affiliates. It includes several provisions that will modernize the
procurement procedures currently used by the System's health facilities and set
ethical standards that are designed to preserve the integrity of the System's
According to David Small, “It provides for the System to be good stewards of
the public trust by seeking to spend public dollars in the most efficient
fashion in support of delivering quality healthcare while remaining fully
committed to the County's policy to promote equal opportunity in the
“The System's procurement policy is consistent with the County's Ordinance on
Procurement and Contracting, including the goal that the participation by
minority and women owned businesses be not less than 35% of the total aggregate
value of contracts awarded by the System annually,” Small concluded.