Medicaid reforms net Ohio $169M

Beginning next month, Ohio’s Medicaid program will receive an additional $169 million in federal funds through the Affordable Care Act to help seniors and people with disabilities stay in their homes, state health officials announced Wednesday.

Ohio is one of 16 states selected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to participate in the health care law’s Balancing Incentive Program, which offers states enhanced Medicaid reimbursements to encourage them to step up spending on home and community-based long-term care.

States currently spending less than 50 percent of their long-term care budget on home and community-based services qualify for the program.

Ohio will receive a 2 percent bump in Medicaid reimbursements for its commitment to reach the 50 percent threshold by Sept. 30, 2015. Today, about 39 percent of the state’s long-term care spending is directed toward home and community-based care — up from about 36 percent in fiscal 2011, according to a press release from the Governor’s Office of Health Transformation and the Office of Medical Assistance.

“Ohio’s participation in the (Balancing Incentive Program) is part of the Kasich administration’s commitment to improving access to services that people prefer and improving quality of care in those settings, while also achieving an efficient use of taxpayer resources,” said Greg Moody, director of the Office of Health Transformation.

Gov. John Kasich’s first jobs budget increased Medicaid spending on home and community-based services by $200 million for the 2012 and 2013 fiscal years. As a result, an additional 7,600 Ohioans are receiving Medicaid long-term care services in their own home or community setting, Moody said.

The governor’s latest budget proposal would increase Medicaid payments related to home and community-based services by $30.8 million over the biennium and takes other steps to improve quality and access to services in community-based settings. The budget has yet to be approved by the General Assembly.

In addition to the spending goals, states must also adopt three operating standards to qualify for the ACA program, including: a single entry point for beneficiaries; case management services that are free of conflicts of interest; and standardized assessment tools.

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