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Illinois nursing homes sue state over low Medicaid rates

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A handful of Illinois-based nursing homes sued the state’s Department of Healthcare and Family Services on Friday, saying low Medicaid rates are jeopardizing their ability to provide adequate quality of care.

In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, five groups that jointly operate more than 100 skilled nursing facilities across the state said Illinois’ reimbursement rates and methodologies violated certain requirements under the Medicaid Act.

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The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services and the governor’s office did not immediately return requests for comment.

Nursing homes across the country are struggling to pay landlords, employees and providers due to low Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement rates and depressed occupancy levels, but the problem is especially acute in Illinois, where reimbursements are not only low, but also arrive with months of delays.

An impasse between Illinois’ Republican governor and Democrats who control the legislature left the state without a complete budget for an unprecedented two fiscal years. Lawmakers enacted a fiscal 2018 budget in July, but the state still has a $9.1 billion backlog of unpaid bills to vendors and service providers.

CC Care, a Chicago-based skilled nursing home operator, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October, saying in court papers that slow, erratic and low Medicaid payments were having a “disastrous effect” on all nursing homes in the state.

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Some nursing facilities have waited up to nine months to receive their Medicaid payments, which they rely on to cover everything from salaries, rent and food to laundry and medical equipment and services, restructuring experts have told Reuters.

The lawsuit against the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services was filed by Generations Health Care Network, Carlyle Healthcare Center, St. Vincent’s Home, Clinton Manor Living Center and Extended Care Clinical.

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As a result of the state’s reductions in Medicaid reimbursement rates, the five operators said they have substantially limited, or are considering limiting, their participation in the Medicaid program. This will “severely curtail” Medicaid patients’ access to nursing care services, they said.

(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Water bacteria cancels Tokyo 2020 paratriathlon test swim

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The swimming section of a paratriathlon test event for Tokyo 2020 was cancelled Saturday due to high levels of bacteria in the water, the latest in a series of difficulties over water quality and temperature.

Olympic organizers have won widespread praise for their preparations but extreme summer heat and poor water quality have brought headaches at practice events, with less than a year to go until the opening ceremony.

The International Triathlon Union (ITU) shelved the swimming leg after tests showed levels of e-coli more than double the acceptable standard.

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Psychoanalyst says Trump’s ‘mental pathology’ means he ‘hates reality’

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Donald Trump is a living, breathing national emergency. Our president has repeatedly encouraged violence against his perceived enemies — and at least some of his supporters are following his lead. These are not isolated incidents. There are dozens of court cases where Donald Trump has been cited for "inspiring" acts of violence and other crimes.There are also the most odious examples such as the recent white supremacist terror attack in El Paso in which the alleged mass murderer wrote an online "manifesto" that almost verbatim channeled Trump's threatening rhetoric towards nonwhite people.

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‘He’s crazy’: MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace says Trump’s confused behavior is getting ‘impossible’ to ignore

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MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace argued Friday on "Deadline: White House" that the signs of Trump's frazzled and sometimes disjointed mental state are becoming "impossible" to ignore.

She first pointed to a passage in the New York Times report on his Thursday night rally, which said:

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