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New Threat to Access to Independent Providers: Provider Rate Cuts

In March, the Ohio Consumer Voice for Integrated Care (OCVIC) published a news article detailing the outcry of consumers and Independent Providers (IPs) on the proposed elimination of IPs. After the outcry and testimony from consumers, IPs, and advocates, the language was removed, the timeline changed and a stakeholder advisory group will help the state make consumer self-direction (allowing consumers to hire IPs) available to all Ohioans. Our voices were heard.

But, now we are hearing a new, related outcry.

OCVIC has received several messages on the proposed new rates for Independent Providers and Agencies. Providers were told that Ohio Medicaid, in an effort to modernize the way it pays, engaged in a long term study to analyze factors such as labor market data, education, licensure status, and length of service visits to assist in developing a new rate structure for Home Health services. The results of that study resulted in a new proposed rate structure that will be effective July 1, 2015 if accepted. The new rate structure, providers are told, will ensure that all providers are present and providing services for a minimum of 35 minutes in order to get the higher base rate, increase reimbursement for RNs (since they have a higher skill level), and adjust the rates for all providers.

But, OCVIC manager John Arnold has heard comments from IPs on this proposed change, such as:

  • I’m taking a 20 – 35% pay cut.
  • The cost of living is going up, but my paycheck is going down.
  •  I cannot pay for my childcare with this pay cut.
  • I will have to go on government assistance.
  • I need to get a second job.
  • I think the state wants us all to work in agencies.

A public hearing on the proposed rule actions will be held on May 15, 2015, starting at 12:00 p.m. and continuing until all persons in attendance have had an opportunity to testify. The hearing will be held at 50 W. Town St., Room A501, Columbus, Ohio 43215. At this hearing, the Department will accept verbal and/or written testimony on the proposed rule actions under consideration.

Persons unable to attend the public hearing may submit written comments on the proposed rule actions. Any written comments received on or before the public hearing date will be treated as testimony and made available for public review.

If you would like to submit your testimony to be heard by this committee you may do so by following this link. There is a template provided, but in order for it to be effective you should provide as many details as possible about how this will affect you and your consumers.

OCVIC will evaluate the new proposed rates and will determine the next steps in our advocacy.

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