Illinois hospitals have begun receiving $75 million in new stability payments to help fight COVID-19, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) announced today. The funds will help hospitals continue to provide essential COVID-19 services to their communities in the coming weeks and months. Stability payments are being issued in installments until July 1, 2020 through the state’s Medicaid Managed Care Organization (MCO) partners. Hospitals began receiving the first installments in late April.The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges to the healthcare industry. While some providers have experienced an onslaught of suspected or infected patients, others have a looming shortfall of revenue due to delayed elective procedures or patients with chronic conditions seeking care in different ways that reduce risk of exposure to the virus. To offer further support, a bipartisan working group created last year to extend the Hospital Assessment Program has agreed to a proposal that would bring nearly $250 million more dollars annually to hospitals throughout the state. This will maximize federal participation in Medicaid and move to a more dynamic payment system that is responsive to the needs of individual member decisions on where to seek care. The Department has submitted the proposal to the federal government and advocated for quick approval to solidify the future for hospitals across the state. Overall, $3.8 billion would be provided to hospitals through the renewed assessment program. In addition to the additional funding, $150 million dollars would be offered to hospitals for innovative future healthcare projects under guidelines that are being developed. With authorization from the General Assembly and approval from the federal government, the new program would operate from July 1, 2020 until the end of 2022. HFS has also submitted several federal Medicaid waivers asking for new flexibilities for patients and providers. The department is still awaiting federal guidance on some of the requests. Information about submitted and approved new flexibility, including new expansive guidance on telehealth options, can be found on the HFS website at https://www.illinois.gov/hfs/Pages/coronavirus.aspxMore information for clients and providers is available on the HFS website at www.HFS.Illinois.gov. Individuals wanting to apply for benefits or check on their case are encouraged to visit www.ABE.illinois.gov.