Recently, independent home-health providers in Ohio have had the future of their jobs become jeopardized. Recently, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) suggested a “phase-out” program of approximately 13,000 independent and non-agency providers who are currently billing Medicaid for their in-home services.
The phase-out plan is part of Kasich’s budget proposal that is currently being considered by legislature. It is said to combat fraudulent claims by phasing out non-agency home health care jobs over a four-year timespan. Additionally, he believes that the restrictions will also save taxpayer dollars and improve the quality of care overall. So far, both independent home care providers as well as their clients have voiced their opposition to the pending changes.
According to an article recently published by a local news website:
“Angelica Halcomb is 23 years old going on life as a toddler at best. She functions at probably a year and a half. Angelica was born with brain damage. She has a variety of other neurological illnesses, and cannot speak.
Her father, Scott Halcomb, said, "She's basically in a wheelchair and requires 100 percent care, 24/7.
One of Angelica's care givers is Shelly Schmit, an independent nurse who works directly for clients like the Halcombs. Rather than working for an agency.
Schmit said, "She's not just a number. She's not one of many patients. She's just one of a few and that means she's going to always get better care from me than from someone who comes in today and may never come back to this home."
Several independent providers have expressed outrage and said the allegations of non-agency providers are an insult. Schmit also claims that independent providers are actually less costly and give clients the ability to handpick the quality of the caregivers treating their loved ones.
“Of course, Angelica is not aware of the state of Ohio's budget. But there are 16,000 other in-home patients in Ohio, cared for by 13,000 independent providers. Big numbers, but it really comes down to one nurse and one patient at a time.
The situation is a budget issue because government Medicaid dollars pay for home health care; independent or agency. Governor Kasich's plan would stop new independent providers from joining the system as of July 2016 and cut all existing independents by July 2019. If problems for independent home health workers sound familiar, in 2014 there were thousands of them who received late paychecks after a switch in the state's payment procedure. Now, of course, they might receive no paychecks.
The state Legislature has final say on the governor's budget proposal. There are Facebook groups of independent providers, as well as a petition drive urging the legislature to reject the governor's plan.“