Illinois Attestation for Medicaid Payment Increase? Not Yet

stateAs some of you know, The Affordable Care Act includes a historic investment to expand access to Medicaid for children. As of January 1, Medicaid payment rates are raised to at least Medicare rates for primary care and immunization services.

While this increase is part of existing federal law, eligible pediatricians must sign up to receive it: States may have their own reasonable deadlines for pediatricians to sign up (“self-attest”) for the increase, and many of these deadlines are happening within the next month.

This is awesome, except, the State of Illinois has yet to publish how IL doctors ought to go about getting the payment increase.

I emailed the Scott G. Allen, MS, Executive Director of Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics and he emailed me this notice that they sent out to their members.

Dear ICAAP Member:

The email below from the national AAP advises members to self-attest to receive Medicaid payment increases.  Unfortunately, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) has not yet established its guidelines for how providers can self-attest nor announced other details about the rate increases.  So at this point, you will not find information on the AAP or ICAAP web sites, and no action on your part is possible.  However, ICAAP will alert members as soon as HFS has released information on how to self-attest and what the deadline is.  We encourage all members who serve Medicaid clients to apply for these increases.

ICAAP and its partner medical associations have discussed this rate increase and urged HFS to act, at both individual meetings and Medicaid Advisory Committee meetings, beginning last year.  We have made recommendations to them and received some assurances that providers (rather than managed care or other third parties) will directly benefit from the increases, as required by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  We have also been told they are making progress in determining rates, attestation processes, and other details but do not expect to receive final information for at least a few more weeks.  Technically, the state has until the end of March to determine and promote its processes.

AAP and ICAAP are actively promoting this because participation and showing a positive impact may be critical to our future to seek an extension on these rate increases.  Unfortunately, the impact of other changes in Illinois – specifically our Medicaid reforms which include moving 50% of the current patients to managed or coordinated care programs in the next two years – may complicate efforts to determine if these rate increases had any impact or positive results.  However, ICAAP generally supports that payment at Medicare levels or higher is more appropriate than our current Medicaid rates and will lead to increased access to quality care for Medicaid patients.

When ICAAP receives additional information, we will let you know.  Recognizing that some of your colleagues may not be members of the Chapter in good standing, and therefore may receive the national AAP email but will not receive this email, please share with others as appropriate.

Sincerely,

The ICAAP Executive Committee and Staff

Nothing worse than knowing that the only thing you can do, is do nothing.