Decked out in baseball camps, Heritage Health residents became teammates with the Health Care Council of Illinois.



What is at stake is not only a win for their team, but a consistent level of care for them at the nursing home.

The Chillicothe nursing home, along with others in the state and HCCI, is trying to draw attention to a proposed cut in Medicaid.


Decked out in baseball camps, Heritage Health residents became teammates with the Health Care Council of Illinois.

What is at stake is not only a win for their team, but a consistent level of care for them at the nursing home.
The Chillicothe nursing home, along with others in the state and HCCI, is trying to draw attention to a proposed cut in Medicaid.

HCCI’s campaign of “Step up for nursing home residents” pitches that the state’s first strike is that it is lowest in the country of Medicaid reimbursement rates. The second strike is that the state is seven months behind in making its Medicaid payments, owing nursing homes more than $600 million. The third strike, the association of nursing homes says, would be to enact the proposed $2.7 billion in Medicaid cuts.

State Rep. David Leitch, R-Peoria, spoke and heard comments from residents, as well as state Sen. Darin LaHood, R-Dunlap, who was not scheduled to make an appearance.

“Last year there was a 3 percent cut on top of a delayed payment,” said Wade Cies, Heritage Health administrator. “This year’s proposal is $15 cut per day, per resident. When you start looking at those numbers, we’re talking about $900 per day.”

HCCI is stopping in cities around the state to bolster support for the cause.

Currently the cost per Medicaid resident to live at the nursing home is $140 per day with the state reimbursing only $117, Cies said.?The proposal is to pay $101. About 60 of the home’s 100 residents are on Medicaid.

“The opportunity to express our feelings to both of them at the same time is great, and we thank them for both coming,” said Cies of the legislators.

Leitch said it is a challenging year for nursing homes.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us in the next six months but we want to make sure our nursing homes are taken care of,” said Leitch.

LaHood said state officials need to make sure that bridging the state’s deficit is done in a “fair” and “equitable” way, as well as making sure funds are “well spent.”

Both legislators expressed their frustration over the $2.7 billion in cuts Gov. Pat Quinn has suggested to bridge the gap for Medicaid. Last year, both parties identified more than $1.5 billion in reforms that have not been enacted, Leitch said. Medicaid reforms included things such as verifying residency and income, making sure the client does not have third-party insurance and identifying people coming from another state to Illinois.

LaHood echoed some of the same comments he made at the Chillicothe Chamber of Commerce dinner in March. The state’s income from the additional income tax money went to make pension and Medicaid payments. Both are the two biggest issues in the state according to both Leitch and LaHood.

“The theme is collateral damage to everything in the state if both of them aren’t tackled through reforms,” said LaHood.

He likened Illinois to an island as the states around Illinois all have a balanced budget or have a surplus.

“We’ve kicked this can down the road and we’ve run out of road,” LaHood told the residents.

In ending the legislators’ comments, “I hope we can put our rally caps on and get something done,” said LaHood.

Donna Ginther, special projects director for HCCI, said the residents of the nursing home represent the lives that could be changed if Medicaid funding was cut.

“With our rate so low, the reality of the deep cuts is that people are going to lose their homes. This is their home,” said Ginther.

“This is the story to remind them they’re affecting people’s lives.”

The residents also had their pictures taken and wrote letters to the governor on an “All-Star” card.

For more information, visit www.CareYouCanCountOn.org.