On Wednesday, the Ohio House Finance Committee heard testimony from the Directors of Ohio’s health and human services agencies, including Director of Medicaid Maureen Corcoran, Director of Health Stephanie McCloud and Director of Aging Ursel McElroy. Testimony began at 9:30AM and lasted into the evening hours.
Director Corcoran’s testimony reiterated items that had already been shared with LeadingAge Ohio, including an outline of a nursing facility quality package, which includes a bed buyback program and continuation—and modification—of the nursing home quality incentive program. Testimony also confirmed that nursing, aide and personal care services delivered under the Ohio Home Care, PASSPORT and MyCare Ohio waivers would see a 4 percent increase to rates. Ohio’s assisted living waiver would also see a 4 percent increase to reimbursement. An enhancement of home-delivered meals reimbursement has been implied, but details have not yet been shared.
Corcoran confirmed that the budget was able to be balanced with help from an enhanced federal match (eFMAP) that was included in federal COVID relief legislation—but the federal match came with strings attached. In order to receive the additional matching funds, the Ohio Department of Medicaid had to agree to refrain from disenrolling beneficiaries during the span of the public health emergency (PHE). During the PHE, Medicaid will only disenroll individuals upon death, moving to another state, or when they voluntarily request to be disenrolled. This has increased the Medicaid population by an estimated 300,000 to date, a number which will only grow over the coming years.
Director McElroy responded to questions regarding Ohio’s COVID response, explaining the need for continued focus on testing. Among the agency’s proposals was a universal background check protocol for individuals working with older adults, and initiatives that would be built upon the recommendations included in the State Action Plan on Aging, which is expected to be released this week or next. In responding to questions related to adult day, Director McElroy noted that the Department struggled to connect with providers during the pandemic, but is hopeful to continue building relationships with the sector.
The legislative language for the executive budget is anticipated yet this week or early next week. At that point, LeadingAge Ohio will provide members with a complete analysis of the provisions which directly impact aging services providers.
As a reminder, the Executive budget is just the first step in the legislative process of adopting the 2022-2023 biennial budget which the Governor must sign by July 1. The bill now moves to the House for consideration and amendments. To hear the latest on the biennial budget, be sure to join the LeadingAge Ohio Advocacy in Action calls on the second and fourth Mondays of the month at 10AM. Questions regarding the biennial budget may be directed to Susan Wallace, Chief Policy Officer, at email@example.com.