New laws streamline Medicaid process to get into Illinois nursing homes

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When a family member is sick or can’t take care of themselves, it can be an incredibly stressful time. The situation becomes even worse if those patients can’t get the treatment they need.

That’s been a problem for many people in Illinois. But Thursday with a stroke of a pen, thousands across Illinois waiting for Medicaid to cover their care at nursing homes hope they won’t have to wait much longer.
    
Senator Dave Syverson, who helped craft the bills, says this will assist the 19 nursing home facilities in the Rockford area.

“We heard from many of [the homes] over the last few years about the struggles they were having of trying to help families transition into care,” said Syverson.

One of the bills signed makes it easier for financial institutions — like banks or credit unions — to send records to the State. The other, eliminates the requirement for patients to restart the filing process to stay in facilities each year.

“Faxing papers, going into offices and sitting there for hours, waiting to talk to somebody, those things will all be done,” explained Syverson.

South Beloit resident Ilah Tinder says she spent almost half a year in and out of public aid offices trying to get her disabled son’s Medicaid approved.

“It was a lot of stress for me, a lot of stress for my family,” said Tinder. “I’m very, very happy that the Governor signed this bill today.”

Amberwood Care Center took in Tinder’s son before his Medicaid came through. Something that’s done for many of its patients.

“We’ve taken people in on public aid pending,” said Amberwood Care Center owner Kenny Ripstein. “[We] haven’t gotten paid for two years at a time on certain cases. It’s a very cumbersome process, this is going to help streamline it and make it a more efficient process.”

Syverson says this bill will mean no Illinois family will have to go through what Tinder did.

“This was a struggle for the family, not knowing if they’re approved or not,” said Syverson. “Struggles for the facility because that person is there at the facility but they’re not approved yet.”

The new legislation also creates an online sign-up application. The state says they will also set up training sessions to help facilities understand the new process.

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