Governor John Kasich’s budget proposals continue to transform Ohio into a national leader in health care. In a budget announcement, the Office of Health Transformation (OHT) noted, “This latest series of reforms focuses on improving the quality and outcomes associated with our state’s health care programs, while staying accountable to Ohio taxpayers and finding new ways to support all Ohioans. Despite significant new investments in primary care, behavioral health, and for persons with developmental disabilities, good program management will hold Medicaid’s per-member cost growth to below three percent.”
Included in the historic budget, Blueprint for a New Ohio, are many areas affecting DODD and the statewide developmental disabilities community. Among them:
- Raising the Medicaid Asset Limit: The recommendation that the asset limit for Medicaid recipients be raised to $2,000 from the current $1,500. Many self advocates have requested this increase as a common sense approach to allowing them improved economic security without penalizing them for earning money.
- Transitioning to an agency-only model. To improve oversight, decrease fraud and abuse, and improve health outcomes for people, a majority of states — along with the federal Medicare program — allow Medicaid-funded services provided only through home health care agencies, not independent providers. Under the proposed budget, the Ohio Department of Medicaid would not take any new independent service providers after July 1, 2016, and by July 1, 2019, only accept claims submitted through home health agencies. These providers will be able to continue providing Medicaid-funded HCBS waiver services if they seek employment through a home health agency, or if they provide services to an individual who is using a self-directed option where the recipient is the employer of record; this includes services provided under the Self Empowered Life Funding (SELF) waiver. Read more about these changes in this white paper from OHT.
The budget introduced on February 2 by Governor Kasich will move forward this week toward discussions in the Ohio Legislature, and state legislators are expected to begin review of the full budget bill early next week. Review of the proposals is a thorough process which culminates in the adoption of an agreed-upon version of the budget bill by June 30, 2015. Pipeline will continue to bring you news of this ongoing process.
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