Leadership | 06.07.22
New Law Provides $700 Million for Long-Term Care Community Staffing
Late last month, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed legislation that adds another $700 million annually into Medicaid-funded long-term care communities, as long as they use that funding to boost staff and wages. The law further establishes new reimbursement rates for services provided by certified nursing assistants, offering pay raises based on their years of experience, rather than their time at specific communities. The Illinois Medicaid program pays for the care of about 70 percent of all long-term care residents in the state, or approximately 45,000 seniors and disabled persons. State Department of Healthcare and Family Services officials have referred to studies showing Illinois has | more understaffed communities than any other state, fueled by high turnover and low wages. This was particularly apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic when those communities became the epicenter of multiple outbreaks, which led to a disproportionate number of COVID-related deaths. State Sen. Ann Gillespie (D), who carried the bill in the Senate, said even before the pandemic, many for-profit communities were posting profits while operating with staffing levels below clinical mandates. As of press time, the new rules still needed clearance from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.