Care, Jobs in Ohio Skilled Nursing Facilities Threatened by Federal Cuts

Aug 04, 2011, 09:51 ET from Ohio Health Care Association

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Aug. 4, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The state's largest long-term care organization expressed concern about massive cuts in Medicare reimbursement to skilled nursing facilities imposed by the federal government on Monday. The cuts, which amount to 11.1% of the Medicare rates, will take effect October 1.

"This reduction by Medicare will hit Ohio's skilled nursing facilities to the tune of $405.6 million over the next two years," said Ohio Health Care Association (OHCA) Executive Director Peter Van Runkle. "It will be particularly hard for our members to manage because of the heavy cuts to Medicaid that just took effect as a result of Ohio's state budget bill."

The budget bill, House Bill 153, slashed the rates skilled nursing facilities are paid for caring for Medicaid patients (approximately 64% of all patients) by 5.8%. The Medicaid cuts were effective July 1.

"Medicare, to some extent, has helped facilities cope with the chronic underfunding that they face from Medicaid, but now that support is crumbling," said Van Runkle.

In addition to the cuts from Medicare and Medicaid, skilled nursing facilities in Ohio pay a bed tax that adds $190 million per year in unreimbursed cost to facility operations. "The bottom line is that with revenue cuts and bed taxes coming at us from all angles, our members are truly struggling to make ends meet," Van Runkle added. "Because 70% of a skilled nursing facility's cost is for personnel, this comes down to jobs – the jobs of people who are delivering care at the bedside."

OHCA has prepared a fact sheet which details cuts of $405.6 million from federal Medicare reductions, $370 million in Medicaid funding and the unreimbursed bed taxes.

The Ohio Health Care Association is a non-profit association of more than 700 skilled nursing facilities, assisted living communities, and providers serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, representing over 50,000 individuals. Many OHCA members also provide a variety of home and community-based services.  OHCA is the largest long-term care association in the state, and the only chartered Ohio affiliate of the American Health Care Association, representing more than 12,000 long-term care facilities nationwide.

Fact Sheet:

SOURCE Ohio Health Care Association