Nursing homes want to see Medicaid funding restored

The State of Illinois cut millions of dollars in Medicaid funding last year.

The Health Care Council of Illinois said that decision has hurt 50,000 nursing home residents across the state.

Pat Comstock, is the director of the Health Care Council and she is taking her message about the funding cuts all across the State of illinois.

She said less money has cut into vision, dental and podiatry for Medicaid residents.

Without that money, minor health issues can turn into full blown emergencies.

"Our dental health contributes to other health needs. So if a senior gets an abscessed tooth, or has to have all of their teeth extracted, unless that is judged as an emergency by the state, there's no funding for it," Comstock said.

The administrator at the Sycamore Health Care Center in Quincy says 85 percent of her residents receive Medicaid. If a resident needs to be treated for a vision, dental or foot problem, the nursing home is on the hook to pay for it.

"The facility often incurs those expenses for those residents so that they can have those services needed ... to prevent ongoing further complications with their health," Jonni Bullington said.

Comstock added that she hopes lawmakers will hear their message and restore the funding in the upcoming budget year.

The statewide tour also included stops in Mount Vernon, Belleville, Bloomington, Rock Island, Rockford and Chicago.