Blagojevich scandal adds insult to injury

Saturday, January 31, 2009

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.--A $2 billion state budget shortfall has created a Medicaid payment backlog of as much as 120 days for providers. Making things worse: the arrest and possible impeachment of Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

“Everybody is tied up in knots trying to figure out who’s in charge,” said Tom Renk, executive director of the Illinois Association of Medical Equipment Suppliers (IAMES). “The governor determines what funds are releasable and (lawmakers) are asking if he should be there at all.”

With no one in charge, government agencies - and therefore provider payments - are all but frozen, Renk said.

But things may be looking up, at least temporarily, says provider Dave Doubek. In mid-December, the state borrowed $1.4 billion to catch up and he was keeping his fingers crossed that HME providers would get some of that money.

“Supposedly they are going to clear out all expenditures,” said Doubek, president of IAMES. “The bad news is they don’t know where they are going after that. They have to pay that money back.”