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County leaders call for Mercyhealth to continue contract with Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicaid

Mercyhealth

ROCKFORD (WREX) — On Sunday, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos joined Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara and State Representative Maurice West in a press conference to ask Mercyhealth to continue a contract agreement with Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicaid.

A contract between the two is set to expire on October 22nd.

Leaders say if that contract does expire, 8,000 people in Winnebago County will no longer have their insurance accepted at Mercyhealth.

The leaders say past decisions made by the hospital's leaders have already affected thousands of people in Winnebago County and the possibility of it happening again is wrong.

"There have been far too many decisions of late that have been detrimental to not only to this organization but also to our people, mostly people we serve. You look at the St. Bernadette sign across the street from Javon Bea Hospital and it says to love our neighbor as yourself. We want Mercy to care for our citizens as Javon would care for himself and I don't think occurs when you eliminate Medicaid for thousand of Rockfordians," says McNamara

But Mercyhealth says the real problem is the state's "dysfunctional" program for reimbursement.

In a press release given to 13 WREX at the press conference, Mercyhealth says health systems though out Illinois are struggling because they are not being reimbursed for services provided to Medicaid patients.

Mercyhealth says it has lost more than $30 million at hospitals in Winnebago County because of the reimbursement process.

It goes on to say that Mercyhealth has tried to get more fair reimbursements from the state but that has not happened.

Mercyhealth says it continues to accept Medicaid patients who are assigned as subscribers directly to the State of Illinois Medicaid Program and will continue to help and those who have active episodes of care situations like those who are pregnant or being treated for cancer.

Lauren Baker

Lauren Baker is the 13 News weekend evening anchor. She started in April of 2019 after moving from Michigan, where she was a morning producer/traffic reporter.

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