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More “damage done”

Wednesday, Aug 9, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Anyone else notice that the ILGOP has been awfully quiet this week? From the Pritzker campaign…

This week it was reported that Metro East doctors have been “pushed to the brink” by Bruce Rauner’s 736-day budget crisis, and the ones feeling it the most are treating high numbers of Medicaid patients.

To make up for extraordinarily late bills under Bruce Rauner’s failed leadership, doctors are maxing out their credit, dipping into personal savings, forgoing their salaries, and cutting staff and hours. Some patients may see their doctors run out of business and have their treatment plans disrupted.

Dr. David Norman, a Belleville doctor specializing in child abuse pediatrics, told Side Effects Public Media:

    “I don’t want to turn these highest-risk patients away, because you feel like, these are the kids that you really can intervene and make a difference,” Dr. Norman says. “And they’re making it harder and harder and harder to do it.”

“While Bruce Rauner remains silent on Donald Trump’s attacks on healthcare in Illinois, Rauner’s manufactured budget crisis continues to devastate medical providers across the state,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh. “With doctors forced to turn away patients and jeopardize treatment plans, it’s clear that Bruce Rauner’s damage is done. Illinois needs a leader like JB, who recognizes that healthcare is a right and not a privilege.”

* From the story

Doctors across Illinois are struggling, according to Jennie Pinkwater, executive director of the state’s chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She says the doctors who have been hit the hardest throughout the budget impasse are private practice physicians in areas with high concentrations of Medicaid patients.

Pinkwater says that she’s concerned to see so many doctors, who’ve made it their mission to serve areas with great medical need, pushed to the brink.

“We’re certainly hopeful the state will be able to step up,” she says, “and make sure that these practices will be able to stay open.” […]

But now, while she waits for the state to release the money to pay her overdue bills, [Dr. Kristin Stahl] is moving forward on a plan B. She’s nearly $100,000 in debt now–it’s been as high as $200,000 in the past two years. Next month, she’ll be opening a new practice in St. Louis. The new place will be upscale and marketed to patients with private insurance. She’s already purchased the building, which she is in the process of remodeling. Initially, Stahl plans to travel back and forth between her two practices. Once her practice in Missouri gets established, she says she’ll consider selling or closing the Illinois clinic.


  1. - Anon - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 9:25 am:

    Sure is a good thing that Rauner is delaying the bond sale that could provide the money to get these doctors out of debt. I still don’t understand why it’s so hard for management over at GOMB to get a bond sale done. It’s like they don’t know what they’re doing.

  2. - The Way I See It - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 9:30 am:

    Plenty of stories like this. Know of one nurse who couldn’t get a job in Illinois because of funding problems at hospitals. Terrific person, good nurse, dedicated patient safety advocate. Moving to New Mexico.

  3. - Langhorne - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 9:31 am:

    Never been happier.

    Listening, Durkin?

  4. - Carhartt Union Negotiating Team - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 9:32 am:

    If Madigan and his union and trial lawyer puppets would just compromise, pediatrics MDs would probably be thriving in illinois. The workers comp and union dues are forcing them out of the state, doncha know. I don’t know why these guys hate illinois sooooo much.

  5. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 9:32 am:

    Rauner’s supporters will tell you that piling on $10B of this kind of debt and being a deliberate deadbeat was a legitimate political tactic to achieve “reform.”

    I think squeeze the beast was the objective in and of itself.

    Either way, you’re a deliberate deadbeat, running up billions in unpaid bills for goods and services already delivered.

    Call it what you will, except “fiscally conservative.”

  6. - Grand Avenue - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 9:33 am:

    Should we expect anything from ILGOP anymore? Aren’t the Proft “newspapers” now the medium to get the Governor’s propaganda?

  7. - Flapdoodle - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 9:33 am:


  8. - Louis G. Atsaves - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 9:35 am:

    Now I’m confused. Didn’t Mendoza claim two weeks ago that she released $760 million in back medical bills that was primarily Medicaid money? Who did she pay and who did not get paid?

  9. - Give Me A Break - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 9:38 am:

    And human service providers are still waiting for contracts to be sent. Would appear the party of running government like a business can’t figure out human service providers can’t continue to provide services without payment.

  10. - Tough Guy - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 9:39 am:

    Close friend of mine who is a dentist just closed the doors on his private practice due to lack of payments from the State (in excess of $80,000). He said he will either go to work for a corporate group or work on an interim basis with other practices. 3 office staff lost their jobs because of his closing. I’d like the Governor to explain to him his theory on short term pain for long term gain.

  11. - How Ironic - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 9:39 am:

    Well, at least we can rest easy knowing Bruce “Has No Agenda” Rauner is at the helm….

  12. - We'll See - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 9:40 am:

    Don’t all the people on Medicaid live in Chicago and vote for democrats? /s

  13. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 9:41 am:

    ===Now I’m confused.===

    No confusion.

    Rauner vetoed payments. Rauner vetoed everything.

    Nothing to be confused about.

  14. - Mike Royko - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 9:43 am:

    the grass is greener.

    illinois’ issues are structural and not due to mismanagement by current elected officials. this will be true in 5 and 10 and 20 years. there are no good options. as individuals checking out what moving would mean for your family is a good idea.

  15. - Louis G. Atsaves - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 9:48 am:

    === No confusion. Rauner vetoed payments. Rauner vetoed everything. Nothing to be confused about.===

    So Mendoza lied about recently issuing $760 million in Medicaid benefits two weeks ago? Or she talking apples to your oranges to my peaches?

    Yes, I remain confused.

  16. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 9:51 am:

    ===Now I’m confused===

    Only if you believe that $760 million is the sum total of unpaid Medicaid bills.

    C’mon, man.

  17. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 9:52 am:

    - Louis G. Atsaves -

    So you stipulate Rauner just didn’t want doctors paid, vetoed it… and now you’re “worried” about Mendoza? That’s fun.

    I get it, you think Rauner being a deadbeat is fine…

  18. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 10:06 am:

    Rauner’s ideology says these kids deserve it because they weren’t born with a silver spoon in hand.

  19. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 10:07 am:

    Louis. confusion is what gets you through the day, clearly.

    The old unprepared-lawyer trick of obfuscation and deflection works for you sometimes?

  20. - Losing My Edge - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 10:08 am:

    Where do you think that 10% is going to come from?

  21. - PragmaticR - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 10:20 am:

    ==So Mendoza lied about recently issuing $760 million in Medicaid benefits two weeks ago?==

    No. The bill backlog still includes at least another $1 billion in unpaid bills to Medicaid providers and there is also about $5 billion in unpaid bills from state employee health insurance claims. Need to issue bonds to pay the bills and save the interest differential. It is the only fiscally conservative approach available.

  22. - Former Hillrod - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 10:28 am:

    @ carhart union negotiating team.

    Clever nickname especially when you look at its acronym. Am I the only one that noticed?

  23. - DeseDemDose - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 10:31 am:

    Durkin and Brady need to step up or are they also resigning soon….

  24. - DeseDemDose - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 10:32 am:

    Durkin and Brady need to step up or are they also resigning and running away …

  25. - Dude - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 10:42 am:

    Let us all repeat together for the one millionth time, Rauner does. not. care.

  26. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 11:41 am:

    Former Hillrod, AA noticed that bit of cuteness a few weeks ago, but didn’t want to reward that dude for his dorm room behavior by pointing it out.

    See you next Tuesday.

    To the Post, as others have pointed out, the Comptroller has limited resources at this point to tackle the medical payment backlog. Further, $1.5 billion in payments can’t be made in a day.

    Speaking of Carhartt Union Etc Etc, what is he (has to be a he) smoking when he asserts that “union dues” are keeping pediatric MDs from thriving in Illinois? I live in a neighborhood full of docs, including at least one pediatrician, and none of them or their practices wear the union label. #KooKoo

  27. - Nick Name - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 11:57 am:

    @AA: Carhartt Union etc. was being snarky.

  28. - Louis G. Atsaves - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 12:01 pm:

    ===Only if you believe that $760 million is the sum total of unpaid Medicaid bills===

    Didn’t say that. Which providers received that money? Were any of those providers interviewed in the articles you posted recipients?

    Not tough questions. Partisans here are currently completely blinded by anti-Rauner sentiments, but what got paid recently with the Medicaid funds received from the Feds?

  29. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 12:06 pm:

    ===Partisans here are currently completely blinded by anti-Rauner sentiments===

    Only a governor can veto.

    Rauner is the sole governor of Illinois.

    If you’re “so” confused, and “so” concerned, why are you not angered that Rauner vetoed paying bills this fiscal year?

    You’re fine with that veto, but “upset” with payments made with what’s in the checkbook, but not all the bills as needed?

    Rauner ran up these debts, these current monies owed, don’t forget.

  30. - Former Hillrod - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 12:12 pm:

    @ AA

    I’m a regular reader but an irregular poster. Good on t about the sophomoric acronym, I realize I shouldn’t have mentioned it. Thanks for the call out.

  31. - LTSW - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 12:24 pm:

    The $760 million went to MCO’s and pharmacies. Physician fee for service claims are paid in 30 days normally. But the MCO’s can’t pay the docs when the state hasn’t paid the MCO’s

  32. - Oh Boy - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 12:48 pm:

    Use the $6 billion in bond authorization to refinance the debt and pay these poor people what they are rightfully owed.

  33. - @MisterJayEm - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 12:50 pm:

    “Partisans here are currently completely blinded by anti-Rauner sentiments…”

    Perhaps if you repeat that enough, his time in office will somehow be magically transformed into something other than an objective failure.

    I truly doubt it, but I also understand that you’ve run out of other options.

    – MrJM

  34. - PragmaticR - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 1:58 pm:

    ===Partisans here are currently completely blinded by anti-Rauner sentiments, but what got paid recently with the Medicaid funds received from the Feds?===

    I am not particularly partisan in this context. As a fiscal conservative, my political preferences are more in line with the less spending and lower taxes philosophy of the Governor than most. Nevertheless, I am confident that the Comptroller paid Medicaid bills as ordered by the courts. Unfortunately, the backlog is much larger than the funds available and the Governor is choosing to delay the issue of $6 billion in bonds. The continuing damage from unpaid bills to businesses as well as the harm to the state’s financial stability from accumulating penalty interest is now the Governor’s responsibility. There should be no partisan divide about paying bills and saving interest.

  35. - Mama - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 3:11 pm:

    “There should be no partisan divide about paying bills and saving interest.”

    - PragmaticR - you are right. What can we do about it?

  36. - Waterfall - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 3:26 pm:

    Pay 12% interest on unpaid bills or pay 4% to 5% interest on bonds. That’s easy.

    And, under the refinancing option, businesses that are owed money from the state get paid, as they should. And we might avoid a credit downgrade to junk. Why shouldn’t the bond authorization be used?

  37. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 3:45 pm:

    Nick Name, you are so right. Duh.

  38. - PragmaticR - Wednesday, Aug 9, 17 @ 7:09 pm:

    === What can we do about it? ===

    At this stage, it is safe to assume that the Governor’s ideology has overruled his common sense. He dragged the Republican legislators away from the political center as well. I will vote in primaries for the most moderate candidate.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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