State of Illinois claims it was not notified about Mercyhealth dropping Medicaid patients

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) – Mercyhealth stunned thousands of its patients Wednesday by announcing it will no longer be accepting four different Medicaid programs.

One local woman says that the move couldn’t come at a worse time for her and her family.

“This is going to be an issue, because now, all of a sudden, I’m out a primary doctor,” said Marci Johnson, who has been a Mercyhealth patient for the last five years because she has Meridian health insurance.

Because she has Meridian health insurance, now she needs to look elsewhere for a new physician for herself and her family.

“I have a 14-year old and a 12-year old, and they have Blue Cross Blue Shield (Medicaid) with their father, and I’m going to have to find them a new primary doctor as well too,” she said.

Johnson says it’s frustrating that she now needs to look for a doctor further from home, especially in the midst of a pandemic.

“Our doctor, our primary doctor is in Byron. So, it’s only a 10-minute drive. And you know, if the kids get sick or anything, I can always just take them in. But now, I don’t know what I’m going to have to do. It’s a lot right now, especially with this COVID-19 going on,” she said.

Mercyhealth says its losses from Medicaid exceeds $30 million a year, and in a statement, the hospital said that “the losses from these MCOs (managed care organization) are separate from the losses of COVID-19 that greatly exceed the losses from the MCOs”

Speaking to members of the public on social media earlier today Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara said that while he recognizes some of the financial challenges healthcare providers are facing, he’s disappointed by the move.

“I’m certainly not going to stand here and say that I understand all of the pressures that the hospital system is facing today, because all of them are facing challenges. It just seems like not the best time to pull such a negotiation tactic,” McNamara said.

Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services spokesman John Hoffman said in a statement that “The department has pursued every viable option so this health system could continue providing services to the Medicaid population in the Rockford area. While HFS has not received formal notification, we are deeply disappointed that this time would be chosen to leave the program and want to assure our managed care members that we are focused on doing all we can to make sure they will continue to receive care.”

Mercyhealth will continue to accept IlliniCare, Meridian, and Molina patients through July 21st, and Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicaid patients through October 22nd.

Johnson says her kids need to visit the doctor for their school physical before that date, but she is expecting a rush of people who looking for services.

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