COLUMBUS, Ohio, March 20, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Ohio's largest organization representing skilled nursing facilities pointed out that introduction of Governor John Kasich's Mid-Biennium Review (MBR) legislation offers the state an opportunity to provide much-needed relief for the funding woes of the long-term care sector without increasing the state's appropriations.
Ohio Health Care Association (OHCA) Executive Director Peter Van Runkle said, "Through eight months of the current fiscal year, Medicaid spending on skilled nursing care already is $36 million under the amount that was appropriated. Those left-over dollars are likely to reach at least $40 million by the end of the year. They can be used to provide relief to struggling facilities without costing the state any more than it already budgeted."
After Ohio's two-year budget, House Bill 153, took effect last July 1 with a 5.8%, $360 million Medicaid rate cut, the state's skilled nursing facilities have endured a series of additional cuts from the federal Medicare program, none of which were anticipated when H.B. 153 passed. "Starting October 1, Medicare cut Ohio skilled nursing facilities more than $400 million over a two-year period," said Van Runkle, "then, when the Congressional Supercommittee failed to reach agreement in December, it triggered another 2% Medicare cut, and the recent 'doc fix' legislation mandated even more cuts for skilled nursing facilities." Van Runkle noted that surveys of Ohio facilities show the funding reductions led to an estimated 7,300 lost jobs in the sector and at least six facility closures.
The Governor's MBR would boost in Medicaid funding for some skilled nursing facilities, designated as critical access facilities. "We appreciate the administration's recognition that skilled nursing facilities need relief in the wake of all these cuts," Van Runkle commented, "we just feel the relief must be much broader than has been proposed. There are hundreds of facilities that are hurting across Ohio, and the MBR gives the state an opportunity to help them without appropriating any more money than was in H.B. 153."
OHCA has proposed an amendment to the MBR that would use the unspent, budgeted funds to provide limited relief to Ohio's SNFs.
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.
SOURCE Ohio Health Care Association