Health Care Council warns nursing homes could close - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Health Care Council warns nursing homes could close

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The Health Care Council of Illinois says nursing homes will be forced to close if Governor Rauner's proposed Medicaid cuts go forward.

"This is my home and if they do that I will be turned out in the street I guess," says Amberwood Care Centre resident Wilma Johnson. "I don't have anywhere to go."

Wilma Johnson. 86, has lived at Rockford's Amberwood Care Centre for two years.

But some potential state cuts could mean the center will close. 

"We are trying to figure out what we do and where these people go. A lot of them are not going to have anyplace to go," says Health Care Council of Illinois Executive Director Pat Comstock.

The governor's office announced at the end of April roughly $100 million in cuts from Medicaid for fiscal year 2015. It's a move the governor's office says the state needs to balance the budget. 

The Health Care Council says if those cuts continue into next fiscal year nursing homes can expect the worst. 

"This is one of the most distasteful parts of my job. To have to stand in front of these people and let them know...This facility may not be able to care for them," Comstock says. 

The council says as many as 50 Illinois homes could close.

Senator Dave Syverson says he hopes the cuts will not move forward.

"I think there is some justification to the fact that there would be some closures," says State Senator (R) Dave Syverson. "We do have some nursing homes that operate on very very slim margins and if revenues were cut more than what their margins are they would really have no other choice but to merge or close."

We reached out to the governor's office and they provided a statement.

"Insider deals and overspending by career politicians have left Illinois with a $6 billion hole, and without structural reform difficult decisions have to be made...This is the budget we can afford."

But for Wilma Johnson, the cuts are personal.

"I hope that they will listen, pay attention to us, and don't make those cuts," Johnson says.

The health care council says nursing homes would face potential cuts of 230 million if the medicaid cuts go forward.

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