Stadelman, West deliver $2 million to keep Medicaid patients at Mercy

In an effort to preserve services for Medicaid patients at one of the area's three primary medical providers, State Senator Steve Stadelman and Rep. Maurice West secured $2 million in funding for Mercyhealth when Illinois lawmakers approved a budget for the new fiscal year that begins July 1.

Javon Bea Hospital is one of nine statewide that are designated to receive $19.8 million from the Illinois Department of Public Health to support care of low-income patients, Stadelman and West announced today. Gov. JB Pritzker signed the budget legislation last week.

Seven of the hospitals are in Chicago, and one is in the St. Louis metropolitan area. The money is intended to help hospitals with the highest percentage of Medicaid patients and those disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mercyhealth, which operates hospitals on Rockford's northwest and far northeast sides, drew sharp criticism with its announcement in April that an estimated 66,000 patients receiving Medicaid benefits through four Managed Care Organizations would need to find new doctors amid the pandemic as soon as July 21. Mercy also closed its Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

Stadelman and West hope the $2 million in operational assistance gives Mercy an incentive to continue its MCO agreements. The funds are reserved for "hospitals that participate in the state's Medicaid managed care program," meaning Mercy would forfeit the money by declining to change its position.

"My desire is to see the most vulnerable in our community enjoy the same continuity of care as those who are more fortunate," Stadelman said. "We fought for Rockford to be included in this funding with the belief that some extra backing from the state may encourage Mercy to look out for low-income families."

Added West, "The last thing that Medicaid patients need is the uncertainty and fear of what is going to happen to their healthcare during a pandemic. The fight for more funds to Mercyhealth is to ensure that healthcare remains accessible to everyone in Rockford, no matter what zip code you live in or your level or income.”

Mercy had 90 days to notify patients of its intent to sever its MCO agreements. Three of them end next month; one remains in effect until October.

Stadelman and West also are advocating for an increase in Medicaid managed care reimbursement rates, which they say are vital to providing access to health care for all citizens of the Rockford region.

Both lawmakers also are working with IDPH and UW Health to accommodate Medicaid patients within the SwedishAmerican health network. IDPH has requested Rapid Response Plans from each MCO, which include a communication to patients and plan for integrating them into a health system within 60 miles or 60 minutes of where they live.

Stadelman announces $270 million grant program for child care providers

State Senator Steve Stadelman joined Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker along with child care providers, local officials and parents during a visit to Rock River Valley YMCA Children’s Learning Center to announce a $270 million Child Care Restoration grant program.

The program is the first of its kind in the nation and will support child care providers as they continue to watch children across the state during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is not only an investment in our youth. It’s an investment in our communities,” Stadelman said. “This pandemic has created many new challenges for Illinois, but it has not changed the state’s commitment to our children.”

The Child Care Restoration grant program will dedicate $270 million of the state’s Coronavirus Urgent Remediation Emergency Fund to support the economic health of child care providers as the state’s economy continues to reopen in the coming weeks and months

An “Intent to Apply” survey is available online. The information gathered will help inform development of the grants program to be released in July 2020. Qualifying providers will receive their first payments later this summer. The survey will close at 5 p.m. June 19.

Stadelman backs law to ease financial burden for property owners

As the state moves toward the next stage of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, property owners will see financial relief under a measure supported by State Senator Steve Stadelman and recently signed into law.

“Residents across Illinois have faced severe financial hardships over the past few months, and property taxes are often a burden for families living on fixed incomes,” Stadelman said. “Any form of relief during these times can help alleviate some of the pain people are experiencing.”

Under the legislation, local businesses and residents will see property tax relief in the form of:
Empowering county governments to approve 2020 homestead exemptions for those with disabilities, veterans with disabilities and senior citizens, as long as the property had been granted this exemption for 2019.
Allowing counties with fewer than 3 million residents to waive interest penalties and fees for late property tax payments due in 2020
Deferred property tax sales.

“Giving homeowners some flexibility on property taxes is a necessity in our current economic situation,” Stadelman said. “Everyone has been effected by this pandemic.”

The legislation took effect immediately June 5.

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Stadelman returns to Capitol to pass budget, address COVID-19 challenges

State Senator Steve Stadelman returned to Springfield last week for the reconvening of the Illinois Senate after over two months of being unable to meet because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The unusual circumstances that we passed a budget under cannot be overstated," Stadelman said. “We had to not only pass a responsible budget, but to also address the vast challenges the state has now been place under by COVID-19.”

Stadelman said the budget will help provide stability as the state copes with a global pandemic. He noted additional funding Illinois received under the federal CARES Act that will be distributed to local governments, provide rent and mortgage assistance and relief to small businesses, among other efforts.

“This budget addresses some of the most important challenges facing downstate communities like mine.” Stadelman said. “Health care workers and essential employees are on the frontline every day to ensure our safety and livelihood. They need assistance, and they need it now. That is reflected in this budget.”

Stadelman also emphasized the state's commitment to holding the line for K-12 and higher education funding.

“As a state we need to make sure that we continue to maintain steady funding for our schools,” Stadelman said. “Districts have had to significantly adjust due to COVID-19. It was important that we showed our students and educators that they are a priority.”

Property tax relief bill wins Stadelman's support

With property taxpayers across Illinois suffering, State Senator Steve Stadelman voted for legislation that will defer tax sales and gives counties the ability to extend homestead exemptions and waive late fees.

“Property taxes can be a significant financial burden for residents of communities like Rockford,” Stadelman said. “This legislation will provide much needed relief to ease the financial burden on our communities.”

The latest measure compliments other state legislation to reduce the local property burden including a new school funding formula that benefits low-income districts including Rockford and Harlem. Two recent Rockford Register articles illustrate the positive impact of those efforts:

The new relief package gives county assessment officers the ability to approve homestead exemptions without 2020 applications for residents with disabilities, veterans with disabilities and senior citizens who qualify for assessment freezes.

Exemption extensions are permitted if:

• the county board has previously declared a local disaster related to COVID-19;
• the owner of the property as of Jan. 1, 2020 is the same owner as of Jan. 1, 2019;
• the applicant for the 2019 taxable year has not yet asked for the exemption to be removed for the 2019 or 2020 taxable year;
• the exemption for the 2019 taxable year has not been determined to be an erroneous exemption.

County assessment officers are still permitted to conduct audits of taxpayers claiming an exemption to verify the applicant is eligible to receive the senior citizen’s assessment freeze through the homestead exemption.

Senate Bill 685 also defers tax sales and gives counties authority to waive property tax interest penalties.

Stadelman delivers $7.5 million toward proposed downtown innovations

State Senator Steve Stadelman has secured $2.5 million in matching funds pivotal to a $100 million transformation of dated three- and four-lane downtown roads into safer, more inviting and user-friendly two-lane streets with dedicated bicycle and pedestrian lanes and parallel parking.

Stadelman designated the state match from the Rebuild Illinois capital program when the General Assembly approved its new budget last week in Springfield.During last week's special legislative session, He also Stadelman also obtained $2.5 million for upgrades to the BMO Harris Bank Center and another $2.5 million for renovations at Davis Park.

The state's contribution to the Downtown Rockford Complete Streets Project is a key part of a $22.5 million federal grant application that would combine with private investment to bring at least $100 million in improvements to the region's urban core. A previous application in 2019 for a Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant lacked a state match and failed to receive approval of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

"Without Senator Stadelman's support, Rockford's application would not be in a strong position to win," said Bryan Davis, vice president of Government Affairs for SupplyCore, a private-sector partner. "The state's financial commitment greatly adds to the chances of Rockford prevailing in a very competitive federal grant program that doles out $1 billion annually."

If awarded, the BUILD grant would pay for reconstruction of the one-way Jefferson and Chestnut streets, reducing the number of lanes reserved for motor vehicles to slow traffic and reduce crashes. Bicycle and pedestrian lanes with a median and parallel parking would be added. The grant also would pay for the "circulator route" of electric buses looping downtown every 15 minutes.

Stadelman called the Complete Streets proposal a "visionary leveraging" of an estimated $1 billion in urban renewal efforts that span 20 years from the restoration of the landmark Coronado Theater to the conversion of the abandoned Amerock factory into a high-rise luxury hotel.

"If the return is an additional $100 million, the state is making a smart investment with its $2.5 million contribution," Stadelman said. "Not only does this proposal improve traffic safety, it literally ties together the many large and small public and private investments that have contributed to the rebounding downtown we know today. That synergy is important because the economic fortune of our whole region depends on Rockford's prosperity, which depends on the continued evolution of downtown."

The full local match approaches $9 million with another $5.5 million coming from municipal funds and $900,000 from Rockford Mass Transit District.

"Having an exciting downtown where people want to live, work and play benefits everyone," Stadelman said.

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Stadelman delivers $2.5 million toward proposed downtown innovation

ROCKFORD -- State Senator Steve Stadelman has secured $2.5 million in matching funds pivotal to a $100 million transformation of dated three- and four-lane downtown roads into safer, more inviting and user-friendly two-lane streets with dedicated bicycle and pedestrian lanes and parallel parking.

Stadelman designated the state match from the Rebuild Illinois capital program when the General Assembly approved its new budget last week in Springfield. The state's contribution is a key part of a $22.5 million federal grant application that would combine with private investment to bring at least $100 million in improvements to the region's urban core. A previous application for a Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant that lacked a state match failed to receive approval of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

"Without Senator Stadelman's support, Rockford's application would not be in a strong position to win," said Bryan Davis, vice president of Government Affairs for SupplyCore, a private-sector partner. "The state's financial commitment greatly adds to the chances of Rockford prevailing in a very competitive federal grant program that doles out $1 billion annually."

The proposed Downtown Rockford Complete Streets Project calls for reconstruction of the one-way Jefferson and Chestnut streets, reducing the number of lanes reserved for motor vehicles to slow traffic and reduce crashes. Bicycle and pedestrian lanes with a median and parallel parking would be added. The grant also would pay for the "circulator route" of electric buses looping downtown every 15 minutes.

Stadelman called the Complete Streets proposal a "visionary leveraging" of an estimated $1 billion in urban renewal efforts that span 20 years from the restoration of the landmark Coronado Theater to the conversion of the abandoned Amerock factory into a high-rise luxury hotel.

"If the return is an additional $100 million, the state is making a smart investment with its $2.5 million contribution," Stadelman said. "Not only does this proposal improve traffic safety, it literally ties together the many large and small public and private investments that have contributed to the rebounding downtown we know today. That synergy is important because the economic fortune of our whole region depends on Rockford's prosperity, which depends on the continued evolution of downtown."

Chestnut Schematic

The full local match approaches $9 million with another $5.5 million coming from municipal funds and $900,000 from Rockford Mass Transit District.

During last week's special legislative session, Stadelman also secured $2.5 million in capital funding for upgrades to the BMO Harris Bank Center and $2.5 million for renovations at Davis Park, both downtown along Chestnut.

"Having an exciting downtown where people want to live, work and play benefits everyone," Stadelman said.

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Steve New Newsletter

Stadelman annouces Rock Cut reopening 

State Senator Steve Stadelman today announced that Rock Cut State Park is now open so people looking for a safe recreational outlet during the COVID-19 pandemic can enjoy hiking, biking and other outdoor activities.

Stadelman worked with Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Colleen Callahan and representatives of Gov. JB Pritizker's administration to include Rock Cut among 24 state parks initially scheduled to open May 1. Those discussions led to 35 additional state parks reopening today, including Rock Cut.

"I thank Director Callahan and the governor's staff for taking another look at its criteria for reopening state parks," Stadelman said. "Rock Cut is among this community's most treasured public assets, and its size allows plenty of space for people to enjoy nature while maintaining social distance. In these trying times, the ability to move around and be outdoors is a welcome relief."

Rock Cut covers 3,092 acres. Guidelines for safe use of state parks can be found at the IDNR website

 

Stadelman calls for more funds for local health agencies

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Contact Info

Springfield Office:
Senator 34th District
121A Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8022
 
District Office:
200 S. Wyman St.
Rockford, IL 61101
(815) 987-7557
(815) 987-7529 FAX