Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s recent signing of bills to reduce the backlog of patients waiting for Medicaid approval won’t save a small-town nursing home from closing next month.
Pleasant Hill Village Administrator Maryann Walker told the State Journal-Register that she’s happy Rauner signed the two Senate bills earlier this month, but that they won’t keep her Macoupin County skilled-care facility open.
Pleasant Hill Healthcare is planning to close Sept. 1, mostly driven by the backlog in Medicaid payments related to the state’s delayed decisions on eligibility. The nonprofit facility is still waiting on about $2.3 million in Medicaid payments for more than a dozen patients, most of whom have either left for other nursing homes or died.
Walker said she hopes the new laws help other nursing homes remain open.
“You don’t want to see this happen to other people if you can avoid it,” she said. “For us, it was like, ‘too little, too late.'”
Democratic Sen. John Mulroe of Chicago and Republican Sen. Dave Syverson of Rockford sponsored a bill that allows banks to share financial information with the state to help determine long-term care eligibility.
Mulroe, Syverson and other senators from both parties sponsored another bill that eliminates the annual application for long-term care beneficiaries if their financial situation is unchanged. It also allows for facilities to provide missing application data to the state instead of forcing them to wait to get the information from the patient or a family member.
“We want to do everything possible in easing the bureaucratic burden on seniors and their loved ones as they enroll in Medicaid long-term care,” Rauner said in a news release. “It is not fair to residents that it can take up to a year to get approved for essential services. Our families deserve better.”