The 102nd Illinois General Assembly adjourned the 2021 legislative session in the early morning hours of Tuesday, June 1, ending the first in-person session at the Capitol since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Throughout the session, the UnityPoint Health Government & External Affairs team, health system and regional leaders, team members and patients advocated to advance the priorities of the 2021 UnityPoint Health State Legislative Agenda, as well as additional issues of importance to patients and communities.
102nd Illinois General Assembly: Key Health Care Policies and Legislation
$2 million, per year, dedicated to UnityPoint Health Robert Young Center for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHC)
UnityPoint Health was successful in advocating for legislation to ensure that the UnityPoint Health – Robert Young Center will receive $2 million annually from the state of Illinois for services performed as a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC).
In 2020, the Robert Young Center received a federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA) to become a CCBHC, providing federal funds to the facility to perform wrap-around, intensive behavioral health services for targeted, high-acuity behavioral health patients in the Quad Cities region. The CCBHC federal grant dollars allow Robert Young Center to receive reimbursement for services that are otherwise not reimbursable under regular state and federal guidelines.
Because the program has proven to be so successful, effectively lowering hospitalizations and other institutional recidivism for high-need populations, UnityPoint Health was able to pass legislation ensuring that the state of Illinois would continue to pay for the services after the federal grants expire in 2022.
3.5% Medicaid hospital rate increase, via reversal of 2012 Save Medicaid Access & Resources Together (SMART) Act reduction
In 2012, the Illinois General Assembly passed the Save Medicaid Access & Resources Together (SMART) Act to stabilize the Medicaid program and reduce overall Medicaid liabilities. A provision of the Act reduced hospital reimbursement by 3.5%.
UnityPoint Health joined efforts spearheaded by the Illinois Health and Hospital Association (IHA) to effectively reverse the Medicaid reductions and restore reimbursement rates to their original levels, effective July 1, 2021, which will further support patient care and services.
Telehealth Expansion Legislation
As shared in last month’s Illinois Update, The Illinois Coalition to Protect Telehealth secured comprehensive telehealth legislation that, among other provisions, provides a mandate requiring that telehealth reimbursement be applied in the same manner as in-person services and that all in-person billing regulations also shall apply to telehealth services.
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker is expected to sign the bill into law.
Nurse Staffing Legislation
The nurse staffing by patient acuity legislation (Senate Bill 2153), a collaborative effort between the American Nurses Association-Illinois and the IHA, passed the House and Senate with bipartisan support and is expected to be signed by the Governor. This effort to strengthen the Nurse Staffing by Patient Acuity Act is an alternative approach to the mandatory nurse staffing ratio legislation that has been proposed and provides key improvements in communication and shared governance principles.
Appropriation of $150 million for Hospital Transformation (Second Year)
The Illinois General Assembly reauthorized $150 million in Hospital Transformation funds, available to health care providers through a competitive application process administered by HFS. UnityPoint Health, in partnership with a Peoria-based collaborative, will be applying for funds prior to the next application deadline on September 30, 2021.
For more information on State of Illinois advocacy, legislative, policy and regulatory issues of impact to UnityPoint Health, please contact Ashley Thompson, director of government & external affairs for UnityPoint Health.