The Academy of Senior
Health Sciences, Inc.
17 South High Street
Suite 770
Columbus, OH 43215
614.461.1922
800.999.6264
Fax: 614.461.7168
cmurray@seniorhealthsciences.org



 

The Academy of Senior Health Sciences, Inc. (formerly The Ohio Academy of Nursing Homes, Inc.) seeks to provide public education and awareness initiatives to the long-term care community in Ohio. Our membership represents a true cross-section of the skilled nursing facility profession, from small sole proprietorships to larger Ohio-based multi-facility companies, as well as those businesses that service our industry. Through our public education and awareness efforts, the Academy brings the collective influences of the members together into a single voice on vital issues affecting our profession.

Founded in 1966, the Academy then identified one of its core purposes as "To foster a spirit of goodwill among those persons engaged in the nursing home industry, to promote ethical practices in their relationships with each other, their employees, and the general public to the end that all interests may be served fairly..." Though the organization has undergone several transformations over the years, most notably in 2011, its dedication and commitment to Ohio's most frail and elderly remains the same.

 The Academy Weekly Headlines from 2 Weeks Ago
Senate HHS and Medicaid Committee hears surveillance bill —  The Senate Health, Human Services, and Medicaid Committee met last week and heard sponsor testimony on S.B. 255. The bill would allow residents of long-term care facilities to install cameras in their room. Along with other requirements, any roommate would have to permit the camera and a sign would have to be posted outside the room notifying those entering that a camera is in use. Sen. Antonia, one of the bill's sponsors, provided anecdotal evidence that the cameras could be used to prevent the abuse or neglect of a resident. Some committee members expressed concern over HIPAA or other privacy violations. Sen. Brenner, also a sponsor of the bill, said those issues can be worked out. He also noted that consent form that any roommate would have to sign before a camera could be used. Sen. Burke asked how the cameras would work if Wifi was not available in the home. The sponsors noted that the video could be stored on the device and that many nursing homes had Wifi or some method of allowing residents to access the internet, such as a cable TV supplier. It was also noted that any costs associated with the cameras would have to be born by the resident or sponsor.

Dementia bill, LTC topic of House committee —  The House Aging & Long-term Care Committee met last week for several hours. The committee held the first hearing for H.B. 265 that would create dementia training requirements for long-term care providers, including those working in nursing homes. The committee heard the need for such training as more and more recipients of long-term care have dementia. Other issues discussed were the current training available, the potential increase in quality from the training, staffing difficulties, and anecdotes as evidence for the need for the training. Rep. Howse, who sponsored the bill, noted how this issue has been raised for at least four years and the General Assembly has failed to move. Chairman Ginter noted that perhaps the committee can find "low hanging fruit" to move forward.

The committee also heard testimony regarding the aging population of Ohio and the difficulties the state will face in meeting the long-term care needs. Dr. Robert Applebaum, from the Miami University Scripps Gerontology center presented on the aging population and the Medicaid budget. Dr. Applebaum noted the surge in the 65+ population expected in Ohio by 2040. He also noted that Medicaid is approximately one-third of the state's budget and the increase in the elderly population could increase that proportion. Solutions to the dilemma were not straightforward, but included more efforts to keep individuals off of Medicaid, working more closely with county levy organizations, and encouraging more people to purchase LTC insurance. LeadingAge Ohio also presented at the committee meeting. LeadingAge provided an overview of the LTSS landscape and addressed issues such as affordable housing and staffing.

Block grant an option for states  —  CMS issued a letter to state Medicaid Directors that give the states the option of "block granting" the funding for some Medicaid services. Under the current funding mechanism, the federal government pays a share of the costs of providing Medicaid services. Block granting essentially gives states a fixed amount of dollars for Medicaid services. The states then have more flexibility on how to spend that money, so the dollars come with fewer strings attached. For example, under the block grant, states could used closed pharmacy formularies or require cost sharing by some Medicaid recipients. Any savings incurred would remain with the state. The current block grant option would not impact the aged or disabled population and would require states to continue coverage of federally mandated services. It only allows for the block granting of Medicaid expenses related to the expansion, or "Group VIII," eligible population. The most significant concern over block granting is the potential of the state bearing any increased costs to the system. Another concern is an increase in the uninsured population if cost sharing or work requirements create barriers or disincentives for people to enroll in Medicaid.

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