Illinois Budget Cuts Endanger Medicaid Access to CRT

Budget cuts in the state of Illinois have hit Medicaid beneficiaries hard – including those who depend on complex rehab technology (CRT) such as customized wheelchairs and seating.

In an April 24 story, Chicago Tribune writer Monique Garcia reported that the $300 million in budget cuts agreed to by Gov. Bruce Rauner and state legislators in an effort to close a $1.6 billion deficit for the current fiscal year included a $106 million cut to Medicaid.

Advocacy organization Access2CRT reported to stakeholders that Medicaid beneficiary access to CRT in Illinois has already been sharply reduced.

“The small number of CRT providers in Illinois that supply these products and supporting services have been hit with multiple unexpected cuts from an unannounced April change in the CRT payment methodology and a just-announced May 1 across-the-board payment cut of 16.75 percent,” the organization said.

“As a result, the two largest CRT providers in the state have been forced to temporarily suspend the provision of almost all CRT products and services. If nothing is done to reverse these major cuts, this drop in access will significantly compromise the health and independence of Illinois Medicaid participants with significant disabilities and increase the cost for medical care and hospitalization.”

Access2CRT is asking stakeholders, particularly those living in Illinois, to contact state and local legislators and the Illinois Department of Health & Family Services “to tell them that the historic Medicaid reimbursement for complex rehab technology must be reinstated in order to protect the health and safety of children and adults living with disabilities or chronic medical conditions.”

The Access2CRT.org Web site has set up interactive forms to make calling or e-mailing easier.

Gov. Rauner’s budget cuts have been heavily protested by healthcare professionals and Medicaid beneficiaries across the healthcare spectrum. In addition to CRT, budget cuts would impact payments for Medicaid beneficiaries in nursing homes and hospitals, as well as those who need critical in-home healthcare services.

The state of Illinois’s fiscal year ends June 30.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at lwatanabe@1105media.com.

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