Ohio: Bundling program causes headaches for providers

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Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D)
Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D)

A new Medicaid bundling program is hurting some nursing homes. Some facilities say they no longer have the money to pay for support services, such as custom wheelchairs, oxygen, and physical and occupational therapy, according to the associations representing providers in the state.

Bundling allows nursing homes to receive an extra $3.91 per patient day for the services. Formerly, they billed the government directly. The program, which was part of budget legislation passed in July, is expected to draw $55 million in Medicaid dollars, proponents say.

Some nursing homes are saying that they are not receiving enough money from the policy to pay for services such as fixing or replacing specialty wheelchairs. Also, some facilities are turning down patients who need oxygen, dialysis or other pricey services.

“If you have a lot of that, your costs are going to be much higher than a facility that doesn't do any of that,” said John Alfano, head of the Association of Ohio Philanthropic Homes, Housing and Services for the Aging.
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