As the Ohio budget bill moves to the conference committee to iron out differences between the House and Senate, OAMES continues to stay engaged on one issue and that is the unbundling of custom seating/wheelchair reimbursement. As you’ll recall, in the 2009 state budget bill, these items were bundled into the nursing home per diem rate and it’s now being unbundled due to documented access issues for residents.
While Ohio Medicaid has come to recognize the problem and is willing to unbundle these items, they are firmly opposed to returning the payment method to fee-for-service (FFS) and instead, included language in the bill that proposes other “purchasing strategies” such as selective contracting, competitive bidding or manufacturer rebates.
OAMES has opposed this language and met a number of times with legislators and Director McCarthy on this issue. We have also presented testimony in the House and the Senate as the bill proceeded through the legislative process. Given Medicaid’s firm stance not to restore payment to FFS, OAMES continues to work closely with Ohio Medicaid to lay the groundwork for continued discussions and maintain a collaborative relationship with the Department in anticipation that the language prevails.
The conference committee will hammer out the entire budget bill and we’ll keep members apprised of developments with the final language. The conference committee is comprised of the following members: Senators Oelslager (R-North Canton), Coley (R-Liberty Township) and Sawyer (D-Akron) and Representatives Amstutz (R-Wooster), McClain (R-Upper Sandusky) and Sykes (D-Akron). The committee is currently deliberating the bill which must be passed by the Ohio General Assembly by June 30.