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Illinois hospitals waiting for promised funds

By Amanda Vinicky, Illinois Public Radio

Springfield, Ill. – Illinois hospitals are waiting for Gov. Rod Blagojevich to sign a measure that will let them receive millions of dollars they've been promised.

The federal government has provided a windfall to Illinois' poorer hospitals, both rural and urban, that serve a high percentage of Medicaid patients.

But although he's had more than a month to sign into law the proposal that would have gotten the funds to these hospitals, Blagojevich has not done so.

Sen. Jeff Schoenberg (D-Evanston) says many hospitals promised the money are facing financial hardships without it.

He says some hospitals have had to take out loans to pay their employees.

There is speculation Blagojevich does not want to sign it is because the measure also includes a pay raise for himself, lawmakers, and other state officials.

The governor's office would not say what's causing the holdup.

Schoenberg says he fears the federal government will wrongly perceive Illinois' inaction as a sign that the state was crying wolf in saying the money's needed, which might put Illinois in jeopardy of getting future funding.

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