Owed $3B in Medicaid payments, Illinois providers struggle to stay open

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Illinois has been ordered to prioritize paying down a $3 billion backlog of overdue Medicaid bills, but those payments may not get to providers in time to stop some of them from closing their practices.

One of those providers, as reported by Illinois Public Media, is Kristin Stahl, MD, of Heartland Pediatrics in Collinsville, Ill., about 15 miles east of St. Louis. She says she’s owed more than $100,000 from the state and had to take out a new line of credit to make payroll and keep her practice running, as 60 percent of her patients are on Medicaid.

While she hasn’t turned away any patients, she is planning on serving a different population at a new practice in St. Louis aimed at privately-insured patients. Once that practice is established, she says she’ll consider closing or selling the Illinois clinic.

“I cannot keep seeing a large proportion of Medicaid patients and expect to send my children to college,” says Stahl.

For more on how providers have struggled while the state went two years without a state budget in place, click on the link below: