Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday announced $140 million in federal grants to Illinois Medicaid providers to help offset unexpected costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Across the state, federally funded health centers “have been performing heroically on the frontlines of this pandemic since the very first patient showed up with COVID-19, and they haven’t stopped despite months and months of truly grueling work and difficult circumstances,” Pritzker said during a news conference at the Howard Brown Health Center in Englewood.
The grant money comes from the coronavirus relief bill, the $2.2 trillion economic stimulus packaged signed into law earlier this year.
Theresa Eagleson, director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, said nearly $60 million will go directly to Medicaid providers who operate in parts of the state disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
Public health data show that communities of color across the state have been hit especially hard by the virus.
Eagleson said the money is meant to help cover unexpected costs incurred during the pandemic, such as employee hazard pay and restocking personal protective equipment.
The first grants are being distributed, though Pritzker said the state will soon launch an online portal for smaller health care providers to apply for funding.
“We’re giving direct dollars to our direct responders,” the governor said.