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Pritzker reverses Rauner vaccination change

Monday, Jul 8, 2019

* May 8

The Illinois Department of Public Health owes the federal government an estimated $24 million for debt that piled up from a complicated state program to vaccinate low-income kids, WBEZ has learned.

The revelation adds another layer to Illinois’ byzantine effort to get vaccines for roughly 130,000 low-income children. The state had been using free vaccines from the federal government for kids in the Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP.

But then the feds called for states including Illinois to pay for those doses. So former Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner stopped the financial bleeding with a major policy shift that led some doctors to stop vaccinating low-income children. Dozens of physicians have told Illinois public health officials this “could lead to a public health crisis with disastrous consequences” in light of the nationwide measles outbreak.

* July 3

Democratic Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration has reversed a controversial state policy that made it harder for low-income children to get vaccinated, WBEZ has learned.

The change is likely to affect some of the roughly 130,000 Illinois kids who are in the Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP. WBEZ first reported in April that getting vaccines to those children got more difficult following a state rule change made by former Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Pritzker’s administration quietly reversed the rule on Monday, according to a memo obtained by WBEZ. Physicians and pediatric organizations cheered the policy shift on Wednesday.

“We know that families want to get their shots at their medical home,” said Jennie Pinkwater, executive director of the Illinois chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “They want to see their doctor, get those things taken care of in a place where they feel comfortable and have built a relationship with a physician or provider. We’re really excited to see this barrier removed to that.” […]

The rule change will likely mean more costs for the state because more doctors might start once again vaccinating patients on CHIP insurance. But it’s unclear how much.

* Press release

The newly rejoined program will allow providers to obtain vaccines for CHIP children via the VFC program without having to buy vaccines from private sources at market cost and be reimbursed later. As more physician practices, Federally Qualified Health Centers, health department and other providers across the state transition into the newly rejoined program, children covered by CHIP will also be able to get their CDC-recommended vaccines via their medical provider, IDPH said.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 8, 19 @ 10:13 am:

    ===The change is likely to affect some of the roughly 130,000 Illinois kids who are in the Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP. WBEZ first reported in April that getting vaccines to those children got more difficult following a state rule change made by former Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.===

    Rauner decisions are features, not bugs.

    Diana Rauner is president of a social service, aimed towards kids, and still this went on.

    The destruction both Rauners did will take a long time to reverse. Glad to see this reversed.

  2. - Honeybear - Monday, Jul 8, 19 @ 10:18 am:

    Our precious children deserve to be cared for and protected.
    Here in East St. Louis/Cahokia/Fairmont City, that vaccine shot provided by the state will be the only one they get most likely.
    It protects the school
    It protects the students
    It protects the community

    You have to remember. In communities of poverty, the elderly grandparents pay a critical stable role. If kids are not vaccinated, they can bring things into grandma’s or tee tees house that can have huge ripple effects.

    This is good
    Thank you Governor Pritzker
    Thank you

  3. - lakeside - Monday, Jul 8, 19 @ 10:35 am:

    This is a no-brainer - which is not a dig on Pritzker, but his predecessor. You’d have to have no brain to have put this in place.

  4. - Perrid - Monday, Jul 8, 19 @ 10:38 am:

    So I assume the state is just eating the cost of the vaccines? Before Rauner’s change the feds gave IL the vaccines for free, and the docs were only paid for administering it. So the feds ate the cost of the vaccine. If we are going back to the docs only getting paid for the administration, and the feds still aren’t paying, that leaves the state holding the bag for the vaccine, right? I’m not complaining just making sure I know where the chips fell.

  5. - SAP - Monday, Jul 8, 19 @ 10:43 am:

    This is welcome news. The Jenny McCarthy anti-vaccine brigade has not enough damage. There is no reason to put obstacles in the way of people who have the common sense to vaccinate their kids.

  6. - SAP - Monday, Jul 8, 19 @ 10:44 am:

    has done enough damage

  7. - Jocko - Monday, Jul 8, 19 @ 10:46 am:

    ==getting vaccines to those children got more difficult following a state rule change made by former Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.==

    Decisions like this might help to explain Bruce’s love of costumes. He couldn’t look himself in the mirror.

  8. - State of DenIL - Monday, Jul 8, 19 @ 10:56 am:

    It is truly disappointing that the feds would renege on this. OW is right; that was a feature. Bye GovJunk. Hello Governor.

  9. - Flynn's Mom - Monday, Jul 8, 19 @ 11:51 am:

    This Rauner policy is shameful. It not only put all of those children and their families at risk but it could be/have been responsible for contributing to a health crisis for many.

  10. - James Knell - Monday, Jul 8, 19 @ 11:54 am:

    Lucky this Rauner policy didn’t have time to cause a pandemic. What a T-4 kind of a feature that would have been.

  11. - LakeCo - Monday, Jul 8, 19 @ 12:20 pm:

    Just when I think Rauner couldn’t have been any worse, I hear about something like this. He’s like a cartoon villain. All I need to hear now is that he kicked puppies on his way to work.

  12. - Cheryl44 - Monday, Jul 8, 19 @ 12:37 pm:

    How did using poor children to attempt to start an epidemic benefit Rauner?

  13. - Rasselas - Monday, Jul 8, 19 @ 12:38 pm:

    I want to trash all things Rauner as much as anybody, but I’m not sure everyone understands what’s going on here.

    The entire health care industry (whether the payer is Medicaid, Medicare or private insurance) is structured around a model where providers provide care and then, after the fact, get reimbursed. Every provider knows that.

    The Vaccines for Children program was one exeption. When the Feds switched things up, IDPH’s response was to treat vaccines like everything else. Providers would provide services and then get reimbursed.

    I can understand why doctors didn’t like the change, but it did make vaccinations just like every other thing they do. Surgeons don’t expect to be provided with sutures up front, orthopods don’t expect new hip joints up front. You buy your supplies, then you get reimbursed when you bill for your services. (Nearly every other non-health care vendor to the state does the same.)

    It was unconscionable for doctors to stop vaccinating kids because of the change. To the extent they did, however, it was good Pritzker reversed the policy.

  14. - Perrid - Monday, Jul 8, 19 @ 2:51 pm:

    Rasselas, it’s a bit harsh to call it “unconscionable”. The change meant cash flow problems, at the very least, for providers in the middle of the budget crisis. Having a sudden extra cost, with reimbursement coming at some indeterminate point many months in the future, was a hardship for docs and clinics.

  15. - Barrington - Monday, Jul 8, 19 @ 2:53 pm:

    Wonderful news! I am liking Governor Pritzker more each day.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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