DeWine secures federal approval to expand availability of private nursing home rooms in Ohio


Submitted story

COLUMBUS – Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced recently that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved a proposal by the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) that will incentivize nursing homes to make more private rooms available for residents.

The plan is part of the governor’s comprehensive strategy to maximize the quality of care and quality of life experienced by nursing home residents across Ohio.

“Most nursing home residents tell us that a private room greatly improves their sense of dignity, autonomy, and comfort, and we know that private rooms produce better health outcomes for residents as well,” said DeWine. “In Ohio, we have the capacity to provide a private room to every nursing home resident who wants one. Our proposal to make this a reality has now been approved by CMS and is also supported by the nursing home industry. We are working together to make private rooms more accessible in a way that’s ultimately a win for everyone.”

At the direction of the governor, ODM developed a new reimbursement structure for nursing home rooms served by Medicaid that rewards facilities for each additional private room they provide.

This will incentivize existing nursing homes to convert more of their multi-resident rooms into private rooms, while also encouraging new nursing homes to emphasize private rooms as they build – a fundamental shift in focus intended to improve both resident satisfaction and health outcomes. Increased private room supply will benefit all potential nursing home residents, regardless of whether they pay privately or are supported by Medicare or Medicaid.

According to national studies by Health Management Associates, 82 percent of long-term care residents prefer a private room, while only four percent prefer a multi-resident room. Currently in Ohio, the majority of nursing home residents share a room with another person – and often, residents do not have a say in who that person is.

The increase in private rooms also aims to improve residents’ health. Multiple studies in hospital settings have shown that shifting from shared rooms to private rooms immediately, substantially, and sustainably reduces the risk of acquiring and spreading potential infections. This same principle is especially critical for nursing home residents, who can be particularly susceptible to severe outcomes if they get sick.

In long-term care settings, private rooms also result in improved sleep patterns, and have been shown to reduce agitation and aggressive behavior among those with dementia.

“Ensuring the safety and dignity of our most vulnerable Ohioans is our top priority,” ODM Director Maureen Corcoran said. “By reducing multi-occupancy bedrooms, we are improving the mental well-being of individuals and decreasing the risk of infection. We are taking proactive steps to protect nursing home residents and provide them with the highest quality of care possible.”

With CMS’ approval, qualifying nursing homes will receive an additional $30 per day on top of their normal daily rate for private rooms that also have a private bathroom, and an additional $20 per day for private rooms with a shared bathroom.

Work to implement the new reimbursement structure will take place over the coming months.

Ohio’s plan to expand the availability of private rooms is the latest in a series of nursing home quality improvement measures that have been realized under DeWine’s leadership.

Last year, following the creation of the Ohio Nursing Home Quality & Accountability Task Force, the governor and general assembly passed a package of historic nursing home investments and policy reforms as part of the state operating budget.

The package was designed to improve quality of care and quality of life for nursing home residents through enhanced oversight, improved resources, increased transparency, resident empowerment, and more.

Earlier this year, DeWine and the Ohio Department of Aging announced the launch of the Ohio Nursing Home Quality Navigator – a new online tool providing users detailed information about nursing homes across the state in one convenient digital location. Work also continues to increase the reach of long-term care resident advocates, bolster the state’s workforce of facility inspectors, and expand technical assistance for nursing homes, among other strategies.

Submitted by the office of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine

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