Ohio releases nursing home quality data as funding debated

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Smaller nursing facilities in Ohio tend to perform better than larger ones and not-for-profit facilities earn high marks more often than for-profit homes do, according side-by-side data released by the state Thursday.

The Ohio Department of Medicaid’s spreadsheet lists every nursing home in Ohio by name and provides their staffing levels, quality ratings and costs.

The report comes as Republican Gov. John Kasich’s administration is pushing a proposal as part of the state budget bill that would replace Ohio’s guaranteed payment system for nursing homes with a competitive system that financially rewards facilities for maintaining higher quality.

The Ohio House version of the budget delayed implementation of the contentious proposal until 2021 and established a committee to review its impacts. The budget bill is now being debated in the Ohio Senate, where some senators and nursing home operators have continued to raise concerns.

Greg Moody, director of the Governor’s Office of Health Transformation, already has defended the funding changes before both chambers of the GOP-controlled Legislature.

“We’ve had this ongoing concern that when our payment formula for nursing homes is locked in statute, we are forced to pay the same price for really high quality as we pay for really low quality facilities,” he said.

A department memo announcing Thursday’s data release said the existing funding formula is partially to blame for Ohio’s falling below average on 10 critical nursing facility quality measures in a Scripps Gerontology Center review of national data released this week. The newsletter said that’s because the system as it now stands doesn’t reward quality or quality improvements. The study was based on 2013 data and Ohio’s standing has since improved.

“Our proposal now is to once and for all get from under that government-run fee-for-service system and move nursing facility reimbursement into managed care,” Moody said.

He said under managed care in other areas, higher quality has been tied to higher rates and lower quality has led to lower reimbursements or even removal from the provider network.

“We think that’s really the path to improve quality in that sector going forward,” he said.

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