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Senators call for Hamos ouster

Monday, May 20, 2013 - Posted by Rich Miller

* An interesting development…

May 17, 2013
Honorable Pat Quinn
Office of the Governor
207 Illinois State Capitol
Springfield, IL 62706

Dear Governor Quinn,
Re: Hamos Executive Appointment Rejection Letter dated March 23, 2013

On occasion, there are policies and issues that galvanize the African American and Latino Caucuses. We convey to you for your edification the unified sentiment of our respective caucuses that Director Hamos is not deserving of our vote of confidence. Director Hamos has demonstrated her priority to care for the poor and the institutions that they rely on is secondary to simply cutting the budget regardless of the consequences. We do not support her confirmation as the Director of HFS. You would be better served by new leadership that is in line with your compassion and commitment to those who are less fortunate and not one that governs by “executive fiat”. It has been your “imprimatur” of being on the side of the most vulnerable.

Subsequently, over the years, our communities have been disenfranchised by the policies and actions of the current HFS administration. How loudly do the downtrodden and disenfranchised of our communities have to call out Director Hamos to stop elitist policies and listen to the cries of the community without input from the legislature and safety net hospital leaders? How many hospitals in economically distressed communities have to go bankrupt? How many healthcare employees have to lose their jobs? How many people with mental illness, back and forth from the fringes of society, have to be thrown in jail? How many undocumented residents have to continue to be kicked to the curb?

The plans that HFS have implemented will lead to the closing of safety net hospitals, some sooner, some later, leaving African American, Latino and low income families without access to healthcare in their own communities. This will be a moral and economic catastrophe. Some hospital budgets are now artificially inflated by temporary federal government subsidies for their implementation of Electronic Health Records, and when these payments end and HFS’s rate reductions are realized, hospitals will shut down. Consequently, our constituents will be forced to travel incredible distances to healthcare institutions that don’t want them.

We have concluded, after consultation with the care providers that take care of the poor, that the following are policies that need to be addressed immediately:

    • Rate Reform: Once rate reform is finalized, HFS needs to make up for any decreases in payment and to increase payments to support a 4% operating margin. This margin is necessary to offset inflation and to permit hospitals to invest in new equipment and technology. Annual inflationary increases to payment levels also need to be made.
    • Movement to Managed Care: HFS is planning to move patients to HMOs, but this will cause the state to lose $1 billion in federal funds. HFS must rethink this so we do not lose these critical federal dollars that support healthcare for the poor.
    • New/Increased Provider Tax: HFS’s failure to make this happen has cost Illinois and our safety net hospitals millions in increased federal funding this year. This issue needs to be resolved immediately.
    • Readmission Penalty: HFS’s plan will send half of the hospital penalty back to Washington with no benefit to Illinois’ budget, causing unnecessary hardship on our hospitals. The method of taking back the penalty needs to be changed so that only half of the amount is taken from the hospitals and no funds are returned to Washington. Psychiatric patients, who are in and out of hospitals frequently, should be excluded completely.
    • Healthcare for the Undocumented: Undocumented immigrants are contributing members of our communities, and safety net hospitals continue to provide care to them. HFS needs to support its safety net hospitals in their efforts to provide this care because the Affordable Care Act will not.

We urge you to take the State of Illinois in a new direction that is better serving for patients who depend on you as well as the safety net hospitals that take care of them. Both of the undersigned stand ready to meet with you to discuss this matter of grave importance.


Hon. Martin Sandoval
Hon. Donne Trotter

Emphasis added. “Unified sentiment of our respective caucuses” refers to the Senate Latino and Black caucuses.

Not something to be ignored.


  1. - Norseman - Monday, May 20, 13 @ 3:08 pm:

    Is this the proverbial shoot the messenger?

    To me it’s ironic that someone who has spent a lot of her legislative career helping these communities is not being targeted for doing what she’s been told to do as an administrator working for the Governor.

  2. - Norseman - Monday, May 20, 13 @ 3:09 pm:

    Oops. meant “now”

  3. - Publius - Monday, May 20, 13 @ 3:09 pm:

    As a former employee of the public aid department who has followed these issues carefully over the years, i believe they have stated the problems and consequences correctly. While i may not agree with their attempt to remove hamos, I believe that these are serious issues which must be addressed.

  4. - Siriusly - Monday, May 20, 13 @ 3:10 pm:

    Odd to me that some legislators are criticizing the administration for moving half the medicaid pop. to managed care - because that is what they required her to do when they passed the Medicaid reform act last year. I wonder if any of those members voted for it.

    The “billion dollars” is a hospital lobbyist talking point. Hospitals are protecting their money - shocker.

    I do agree with the part about providing health care for the undocumented, but it’s not allowed under ACA so I don’t know how the Senators think Illinois can just “do it”. Rather a poorly written letter in my opinion.

  5. - reformer - Monday, May 20, 13 @ 3:16 pm:

    Is there any scintilla of evidence that Hamos is not doing what the Governor has directed her to do? Or what the legislature has forced her to do with the unprecedented slashing of the Medicaid budget?

  6. - 47th Ward - Monday, May 20, 13 @ 3:17 pm:

    I’m beginning to think that if Sandoval is complaining about you, you must be doing something right.

  7. - ILPundit - Monday, May 20, 13 @ 3:21 pm:

    What is the “rejection letter dated March 23, 2013″ referring to?

  8. - hisgirlfriday - Monday, May 20, 13 @ 3:22 pm:

    So what benevolent billionaire do they have in mind to replace Hamos and who would have the money to stop these budgets cuts and provide for the program expansions they want?

    If none exists and all Hamos is doing is executing the policy of the quinn administration with the money appropriated her office by the GA and there’s no ethical scandal or anything going on then I don’t get the demand she be fired and frankly I find this request pretty dumb and shortsighted when hfs is in the middle of the ACA rollout.

  9. - Demoralized - Monday, May 20, 13 @ 3:35 pm:

    Wasn’t the movement to managed care mandated by the GA or am I imagining things?

  10. - Dan Bureaucrat - Monday, May 20, 13 @ 3:55 pm:

    “On occasion, there are policies and issues that galvanize the African American and Latino Caucuses.”

    What a sad reflection on them that it would be going after Hamos!

    Not only has she been a lifelong advocate for poor people, she is probably the single person in the state who could deal with the enormous undertaking that has been mandated by the legislature, give the fiscal crisis.

    For some of these items (hospital lobbyist talking points included) there is no way she or anyone could simple “grant” this stuff. They might as well demand immigration reform too.

  11. - cassandra - Monday, May 20, 13 @ 4:09 pm:

    Hamos seems pretty competent to me.

    Meanwhile, if there are hospitals going bankrupt, I am wondering why. Maybe there are too many hospitals? Maybe some hospitals aren’t run very well? With the implementation of the ACA, I would expect to see more, rather than fewer hospitals closing, because more low-income residents would have health insurance and, thus, a choice in where they get their health care.

    In any case, paying more money to poorly performing hospitals may not be the right approach to improving Illinois’ health care system.

  12. - Just Me - Monday, May 20, 13 @ 4:20 pm:

    Hamos’ charge was to cut funding. She did that, and now the people who are upset that their funding was cut are upset at her. Money doesn’t grow on trees, Senators. What would you have done differently? Not cut programs? Where would that money have come from? Unless you have a leprechaun hiding underneath your desk then be happy someone else made the painful decisions for you.

  13. - Dan Bureaucrat - Monday, May 20, 13 @ 4:37 pm:

    Just Me is exactly right: “be happy someone else made the painful decisions for you.” The irony is that she is actually trying to create a state with much more health care access for poor people.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but if the caucuses felt strongly about sending this letter, you would think they would sign it.

  14. - Just Me - Monday, May 20, 13 @ 4:50 pm:

    Let me guess: The democrats are upset she cut too much funding, and the republicans are upset she didn’t cut enough funding fast enough.

  15. - Capitol View - Monday, May 20, 13 @ 5:21 pm:

    If the state addressed modernizing its revenues systems, so much of these expressions of annoyance would disappear..

    Can’t get blood from a turnip, guys. Grow up. And start pushing the Speaker to address revenue changes, once it is apparent new dollars will not have to steered toward employee pension systems.

  16. - Sir Reel - Monday, May 20, 13 @ 5:25 pm:

    While they articulate numerous problems, their only “solution” is to get rid of Hamos. Of course they don’t say where all the money should come from. Predictable and empty.

  17. - Just The Way It Is One - Monday, May 20, 13 @ 6:36 pm:

    Wow–sometimes you don’t know the real story beHIND the story until stuff like this comes out. Sounds like folks in the African-American and Latino Communities have been consistently complaining enough that programs and monies that USED to be available to help them out are dwindling, with significant-enough funding taken away, so that the Sens. from those Communities are HEARing about it loudly and clearly from constituents, enough fear sets in and settles in their innards (ala potential re-election problematics), and then WA-LA–somebody is targeted as a Scapegoat for it, in this case Ms. Hamos!

    It’ll be interesting to see how Pat Quinn responds with his Re-Election Primary less than 10 months away, and looking straight into the eyes of 2 Minority Communities heavily weighting the Dem. vote in Cook County which HE NEEDS if the AG runs and he’s going to be able to pull this thing out…!!

  18. - Amalia - Monday, May 20, 13 @ 7:09 pm:

    just plain silly.

  19. - Anonymous - Monday, May 20, 13 @ 7:11 pm:

    The fact that Quinn is holding gambling revenue hostage until unconstitutional pension legislation passes is beyond annoying — it’s despicable. This Hamos stuff just shows that revnue needs to be raised — not just this bizarre and wrong-headed “austerity” stuff that the right wing is so fanatical about. It’s about money — and gambling, for f’s sake, is it. If there’s money to be raised — and people are willing to give it to you — take it, raise it, and let’s get moving.

  20. - lakeviewlawyer - Monday, May 20, 13 @ 7:59 pm:

    i worked on behalf of people with disabilities with julie when she was in the legislature, and she was smart, thoughtful and caring. as an administrator, she is constrained by the general assembly, which has pushed managed care, and the governor, who has forced budget cuts. i have no doubt that she is a strong voice within the administration for the neediest among us.

  21. - More Courage - Monday, May 20, 13 @ 8:28 pm:

    General Assembly didn’t mandate managed care as in capitated payments to an HMO. Mandate is for half the population to be in coordinated care. Many ways to accomplish that. Capitated managed care is what Hamos is pushing.

    Second - most of the letter, at least in regard to the rates, readmissions and payments reads like something written by a lobbyist paid to maximize payments to hospitals, especially safety net hospitals, regardless of the care provided.

  22. - Quizzical - Monday, May 20, 13 @ 9:11 pm:

    I second More Courage. I see lobbyists with very specific agendas instigating this.

    And I won’t believe it’s the ‘unified sentiment of our respective caucuses’ unless all the caucus members sign the letter.

  23. - Storm Brewing - Monday, May 20, 13 @ 11:30 pm:

    Hamos was one of Illinois’ best lawmakers and she is one of the few people capable of seriously addressing these issues. Something else going on for these two senators to be pretending that cuts are in Hamos’ control. She can no longer vote. What a farce.

  24. - dave - Monday, May 20, 13 @ 11:44 pm:

    **And I won’t believe it’s the ‘unified sentiment of our respective caucuses’ unless all the caucus members sign the letter.**

    They did all sign the letter.

  25. - lake county democrat - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 7:11 am:

    Hamos was one of those backstabbing Dems who supported George Ryan over Glen Poshard, so I don’t have a lot of sympathy, but I don’t believe for a second that the most *liberal* caucuses in the legislature loathe her like this - as others have alluded to, there’s some special interest lobbying going on behind the scenes.

  26. - Joey - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 4:46 pm:

    In the old days, if a person didn’t do their job,we might decide that they are not entitled to remain in their job. But now, if I understand this Hamos stuff, she is being opposed because she did her job. I guess if fancy lobbiest are calling the shots for you, it’s possible.

  27. - Joey's pal - Tuesday, May 21, 13 @ 4:57 pm:

    I guess when lobbiest control you,you will say anything to passify them. Can anyone possibly approve of Donne Trotter comparing Julie Hamos to Hitler’s propaganda chief. It was disgusting and even worse when one considers that Julie’s parents were Holicaust survivors. (I guess we should be happy that he didn’t shoot her with the gun he mistakenly carrys)

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