SPRINGFIELD – To ensure that safety net hospitals get the federal funds that they need, State Sen. Omar Aquino, D-Chicago, has joined the General Assembly’s hospital assessment working group. The group of legislators and health care experts has been redesigning Illinois’ hospital assessment formula to improve funding adequacy and access to care.

“We need a strong voice in this working group for vulnerable people and the hospitals that serve them,” Aquino said. “Billions of dollars in federal funding for our hospitals are on the line. I am honored to be entrusted with this responsibility and I look forward to working with the stakeholders to maintain access to health care for all.”

The group is working to improve the distribution of about $3.5 billion in state and federal funding. As part of that process, the legislators and health care experts who serve in the group are in the process of updating data and improving the process of allocating funds.

Aquino replaces retiring Senator Donne Trotter, D-Chicago, joining fellow legislators and representatives from the Department of Health and Family Services, the Illinois Hospital Association and the Illinois Association of Medicaid Health Providers.