The federal government has approved sending more than $775 million a year over the next five years to Illinois hospitals and other medical providers to help care for Medicaid patients.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced Thursday that the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved the five-year deal with the state.
As a result, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services will distribute more than $1.5 billion a year in Medicaid payments. Half of the money will come from the federal government and half from the state.
The federal approval comes at a time when the state's backlog of unpaid bills is mounting. Recently, the state comptroller's office said the backlog of unpaid Medicaid bills alone had reached $1.6 billion.