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March 2012 

 

Greetings from HFS Director Julie Hamos

Welcome to another periodic edition of HFS e-news to keep you updated on program changes. To register for future editions, please visit HFS E-News Online Registration or download for others who might be interested by visiting: hfs.illinois.gov/enews

Thank you,
Julie Hamos

Medicaid Budget in Crisis

You may already know that the Department of Healthcare and Family Services budget for Medicaid has a deficit of $2.7 billion. The greatest burden is on Medicaid providers, many of whom are not being paid their overdue bills for 4-5 months. Accordingly, the Governor and General Assembly are hard at work reviewing every aspect of the Medicaid Program, and everything is "on the table" for potential elimination or reduction. The full "Menu of Possible Options for Medicaid Liability and Spending Reductions" is available for your review on the HFS Budget Web page. This list is not the Governor's nor the administration's proposal – it is simply a list of all possible options.

The Medicaid Program is an entitlement program for many children and adults, but the federal government does allow every state to review, and possibly cut back on, the so-called "optional populations" and "optional services." Of course, most "optional services" were added to the Medicaid program to substitute for higher cost services (such as pharmaceuticals, wheelchairs, etc.). This is the gigantic challenge facing Illinois. Many states are reviewing the same set of painful choices.

It's important to know that the liability and spending reductions must be voted on this spring, or HFS will have $4.7 billion of bills on hand by the end of the next fiscal year – that means many Medicaid providers will not be paid for 300 days. We are very fearful that this scenario means that the Medicaid Program would collapse!

Care Coordination Innovations Project Update

As of February 29, we are pleased to announce that 75 Letters of Intent were received from care coordination entities desiring to serve Medicaid clients through new service delivery models in areas throughout the state. This first solicitation is intending to provide effective care coordination for seniors and persons with disabilities ("SPD" – formerly referred to as Aid to the Aged, Blind and Disabled (AABD)). The summary of the Letters of Intent (pdf) are now posted on the HFS Web site. We are providing this information to keep you informed. Additionally, where multiple entities desire to serve clients in the same geography, we urge providers and care coordination entities to make efforts to consolidate into a truly coordinated service delivery model.

This is also a reminder that the HFS Web site has a Care Coordination Matchmaker feature, as an optional service to help partners find each other, build relationships, offer their services and/or help develop Care Coordination Entities. This is voluntary, not mandatory. Information about your organization can be submitted on the HFS Matchmaker Submission Web page. Your organization can search for other partners on the HFS Search for Partners Web page.

Since an essential feature of a care coordination proposal will be a network-wide capacity to exchange clinical health records, HFS and the Office of Health Information Technology will host a Webinar in April on the Illinois Health Information Exchange (ILHIE) Direct Secure Messaging service. This is a free messaging service that will help healthcare providers exchange clinical data through secure and encrypted e-mail capability. To sign up for ILHIE Direct, visit the ILHIE Direct – Secure Messaging Solution Web page.

New State Web Site Highlights Long-Term Care Rebalancing

Pathways to Community Living in Illinois was developed under the Money Follows the Person federal demonstration to help interested and eligible individuals move from long term care facilities to qualified community settings. Check out the Pathways to Community Living Web site at http://www.mfp.illinois.gov/. The Department of Healthcare and Family Services is working in partnership with the Department of Human Services, the Department on Aging and the Illinois Housing Development Authority on this initiative.

Long term care facilities (LTC) are defined as nursing homes and Intermediate Care Facilities for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (ICF/DD). This Web site will provide useful information to consumers, providers, community agencies and other stakeholders on efforts to assist Medicaid clients with community living, including updates on three class action lawsuit settlements plus downsizing of state-operated facilities.

You will find the first Pathways to Community Living stakeholder newsletter on the Pathways to Community Living Web site.

Please feel free to ask questions or share comments by e-mailing: hfs.webmaster@illinois.gov