COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Agencies and lawmakers can agree that funding for Ohio nursing homes is essential, but there’s some debate at the statehouse about how nursing homes across the state should be funded.

“Our nursing homes are struggling in the state,” Representative Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville) said.

The Nursing Facility Payment Commission Committee heard from three agencies about how the skilled nursing facility Medicaid reimbursement system.

The agencies presented two primary approaches:

  • Funds are allocated based off quality of care: The nursing home must meet certain benchmarks, like keeping the percent of patients who have bed sores low. The benchmarks align with what the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services outlines here.
  • Nursing homes receive a baseline rate: Advocates of this approach say this, in turn, will create higher quality of care.

“We have to start with a place where all of us are giving the basic services to basic humanity and then you can incentivize us,” said Shane Craycraft, Director of Clinical Services at the Ohio Healthcare Association.

“How much more basic can it get when we look at these care issues,” said Roger King, board president of the Academy of Senior Health Sciences. “Why the resistance? Why the protection of the base rate so much?”

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle said it comes down to quality of care.

“Our ultimate goal is to make sure our elders and most vulnerable population have the best quality of care,” Edwards said.

“We’ve got to make sure that fundamental care is a standard in the state of Ohio and that involves our quality of care,” Senator Hearcel Craig (D-Columbus) said.

Edwards is co-chair of the committee. He said incentivizing based off quality of care is the best way to hold nursing homes to a high standard.

“This is real life and when you think about your mother, parents, grandparents, we want to make sure our residents and our most vulnerable population are taken care of,” Edwards said.

Craig also sits on the committee. He said in an ideal world funding from both ends can be provided, but when it comes down to it, quality of care should come first.

“To be in facility and not get the appropriate care, for me that’s where it begins and ends,” Craig said.

The committee says they will have a report done by the end of the fall so they can go into next year’s budget sessions prepared with a recommendation.

You can find the health agencies testimonies here.