Plan to boost funds for safety net hospitals

January 8, 2008 3:21:37 PM PST
There's a plan in the works to boost funding for safety net hospitals that provide care in poor and underserved communities.State, county and hospital officials are backing the plan.

The goal is to increase the federal dollars that go to the institutions providing most of the state's Medicaid services.

Under the plan, Cook County hospitals would pay assessments totaling $730 million, which would generate $590 million in matching federal funds. The total of $1.2 billion would be disbursed to hospitals around the state.

"In the absence of those dollars many safety net hospitals will fail and the consequence will be that all hospitals in the metropolitan region will have their emergency rooms overrun with patients-- the working poor who lack insurance and have no other place to turn," said Cook County Commissioner Forrest Claypool.

The plan must be approved by both county and state governments.