COAAA Focused on State Budget

 

The Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging has been focused on Ohio’s Biennial Budget, in particular, language regarding Managed Long Term Services and Supports (MLTSS).  Cindy Farson, COAAA Director, testified for the Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging (O4A) on a Senate panel that included managed care organizations and nursing home advocates.  O4A supported a delay in moving waiver and nursing home consumers to managed care until provider and consumer issues experienced in the managed care demonstration My Care were resolved.  Issues specific to rural areas of Ohio adapting to managed care for long term care were also discussed.

COAAA and Ohio area agencies on aging (AAA) now coordinate and arrange in-home services for those who are in the Medicaid funded PASSPORT program. Through the advocacy work of AAAs meeting with Medicaid officials and state legislators, there was more recognition of the problems that need to be solved in order to forward with the MLTSS expansion.  Some of the issues include provider payment, speedy service authorizations, lack of data for AAAs and rules that delay services.
 
Senator Dave Burke and Senator Bob Hackett negotiated an amendment that maintained the local involvement of AAAs in case management, provider relations and other possible roles. The AAAs supported the amendment which also included language preventing MLTSS to go forward without legislative approval.

Ohio Governor John Kasich vetoed language requiring legislative approval that could cause delays, but did not veto language specifying the role of AAAs. The House voted to override 11 of the Governor's 47 vetoes which included the vetoed language stating the General Assembly would have to vote to allow MLTSS.  The biannual budget overrides are now in the Senate for review.  Look for public meetings to go forward through the summer and fall seeking input on the development of the proposed Ohio Managed Long Term Services and Support program.  Medicaid officials will be working hard to address issues and incorporate lessons learned from Ohio’s My Care Demonstration.

Regarding budget line items, the Adult Protective Services line item was slightly increased by $100,000, although advocates asked for a $10 million annual increase.  The Senior Services Block Grant was reduced by 3% while the Alzheimers Respite line item remained the same.