Last month, WBEZ tipped us off
to a provision in the stimulus bill that will force the state to catch
up on its backlog of bills to Medicaid providers and stop its
longstanding practice of delaying such payments. In our follow-up post,
legislation proposed ...
Last month, WBEZ tipped us off to a provision in the stimulus bill that will force the state to catch up on its backlog of bills to Medicaid providers and stop its longstanding practice of delaying such payments. In our follow-up post, we noted legislation proposed by State Sen. Jeff Schoenberg (D-Evanston) that would enable Gov. Quinn to eliminate that backlog and clear the way for the $3 billion in Medicaid funding earmarked for Illinois as part of the recovery package. (Incidentally, that bill moved out of committee this week.)
But yesterday, WBEZ’s Gabrielle Spitzer reported on a potential glitch that could allow the state to continue delaying payments to certain providers, such as community clinics. It all comes down to the definition of “practitioner" in the stimulus bill’s 30-day “prompt pay" requirement. Spitzer explains:
This is the technicality that could shut a lot of providers out of the stimulus bonanza. The term practitioner certainly applies to doctors. But there are plenty of other outfits that bill Medicaid – from home nurses to day centers for Alzheimer’s patients. It’s not clear if “practitioner” applies to all of them. So if the state has to pay off certain providers first, Stephanie Altman [of the Chicago-based Health and Disability Advocates] says the others could get shoved to the back of a very long line.
The relevant provision in the stimulus bill can be found here. As you can see, it refers to “practitioners,” but provides little guidance as to who qualifies. Hopefully, the state government—with federal guidance—will soon provide clarification to providers like Altman, who are right to feel anxious.
Image used under a Creative Commons license by Flickr user rosefirerising.