Durbin to Illinois Hospitals: CARES Act Program Can Provide Immediate Financial Relief

SPRINGFIELD – Today, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) urged Illinois hospitals to take advantage of a Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act program that can provide financial support immediately during the COVID-19 pandemic, following millions of dollars in successful funding requests for both urban and rural hospitals in Illinois. The Medicare accelerated payment program, included in the CARES Act, allows qualifying hospitals—including acute care hospitals, children’s hospitals, and Critical Access Hospitals—to request an advanced, lump sum payment from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to sustain their cash flow and help maintain an adequate workforce, buy essential supplies, create additional infrastructure, and keep their doors open to care for patients. This advance payment would be paid back by crediting future Medicare claims to that amount. 

“After hearing from Illinois hospitals about their unprecedented strains dealing with this public health emergency, we worked to include this accelerated payments provision in the CARES Act to address this short-term funding challenge. This program can be a huge help to Illinois hospitals by enabling CMS to provide direct, up-front cash that can ensure our hospitals’ doors remain open, staffed, and supplied during the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m pleased to see it working for both urban and rural hospitals in Illinois already, and I encourage hospitals throughout that state, especially those worried about financial viability, to consider applying,” Durbin said.

“Being on the forefront of this pandemic in Chicago, the Rush University Health System responded early and aggressively in this fight.  In doing so, Rush has expended significant financial resources to ensure that our health system, including all of our caregivers, were prepared for whomever sought treatment.  We are grateful that these accelerated payment advances so quickly materialized as to ensure that all of our limited resources are not stretched further and our caregivers can continue their unwavering focus on being ready and able to serve our patients and the communities we serve. We are very grateful to Senator Durbin for his efforts in ensuring the financial stability of our organization as we navigate through these unprecedented times,” said John Mordach, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for the Rush System for Health.

“The extensive response required to combat the global COVID pandemic coupled with the realities of providing rural healthcare have put extraordinary financial strain on countless hospitals across the state, including Illinois Valley Community Hospital. Thanks to Senator Durbin’s leadership, community hospitals will have access to the funds we need to care for our patients and protect our workforce. Without these accelerated advance payments, I believe that many rural community hospitals will struggle to keep their doors open during this time when they are needed the most,” said Tommy Hobbs, CEO of Illinois Valley Community Hospital.

Rush University Health System in Chicago, Illinois, and Illinois Valley Community Hospital in Peru, Illinois, participated in the Medicare accelerated payment program and, as a result, have been able to continue their efforts to provide medical assistance to their patients and to fight the COVID-19.  Hospitals would not be required to start paying down the loan for four months, and would also have at least 12 months to complete repayment without a requirement to pay interest. Additional information about the program is available here.