State Medicaid panel proposes a freeze on rates paid to nursing homes

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The Ohio Commission to Reform Medicaid proposed on Monday that the state freeze the rates it pays nursing homes, then implement several other policies in the industry to cap Medicaid spending and help control the state budget. The proposals target the nursing home industry because it has been especially effective at cost cutting in the past, officials said.

The panel proposed consolidation of state purchases of prescription drugs. It also is encouraging people to choose cheaper managed care or in-home services instead of long-term care facilities by allowing them to keep more of their assets.

Although none of the recommendations involved cutting eligibility, panel members agree that convincing legislators to take on the changes will be difficult.

"This committee gets it, that what we're about to recommend will be difficult to do," said Greg Browning, a panel member and former state budget director. "We've done the easy part."

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