Will work closely with officials to iron out details
CHICAGO, IL (May 25, 2012) – Howard Brown Health Center (HBHC) commends the Illinois legislature for tackling the daunting task of Medicaid budget reform. While it was not easy, HBHC recognizes that something had to be done to save many key programs and services on which countless Illinois residents depend. Particularly People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), many of which are our patients and clients, stood to be most affected.
With much work still to be done to implement the details, HBHC will work closely with Director Julie Hamos and the Department of Health and Family Services (DHFS), Gov. Quinn and the General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) to ensure that our patients and clients’ needs are addressed.
The Save Medicaid Access and Resource Together (SMART) Act (Senate Bill 2840), championed by Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, in whose district HBHC resides, was the product of months of negotiation and compromise by her and three other leaders in the General Assembly: Sen. Heather Steans, Rep. Patricia Bellock, Sen. Dale Righter, along with Director Julie Hamos and her staff. “We are thankful to Rep. Feigenholtz for hearing our concerns and for her willingness to take action. We also thank Sen. Steans, Rep. Bellock, Sen. Righter and Director Hamos for their tireless efforts and work to save vital health care programs that many of our patients rely on to remain healthy,” says Howard Brown Health Center’s President and CEO Jamal M. Edwards, Esq.
Howard Brown Health Center is highly concerned about having to obtain the State’s prior approval before prescribing certain highly effective HIV medications that have been proven to promote adherence among HIV patients and decrease transmission of the virus. The current prior approval process is complicated and needs similar reform in consideration of the complications that those with HIV/AIDS face.
HBHC recognizes that there will be changes for some of our Medicaid patients and will work closely with the Department of Health and Family Services so that our patients’ care will not be interrupted. “Failure to act and do nothing to salvage Illinois’ Medicaid program would have crippled our State’s healthcare system,” said HBHC’s Public Policy Director Clint W. Sabin.
Moreover, we’re excited about the 1115 Waiver legislation that was passed enabling special enrollment into Medicaid for additional low-income individuals. The 1115 Waiver, in particular, will open Medicaid enrollment for some LGBT and HIV-positive residents of Cook County, many of whom are not currently eligible for Medicaid benefits.
Lastly, we applaud the General Assembly’s cigarette tax increase; the revenue raised will lessen the need for additional Medicaid cuts and shift the burden where it belongs.
Source: press release from Howard Brown Health Center