Supporting home health makes sense

Published 9:17 am Friday, June 21, 2013

Given the option, most Ohioans would choose to live in their home rather than in a nursing home or extended-care facility.

While many factors, including age, and the severity of a disability or medical condition, can impact that choice, the benefits of residing in a familiar environment, with family and friends nearby, are obvious. It can also be more affordable.

In recent years, state leaders have pushed to expand home- and community-based services and reduce institutional care to save millions in long-term care spending. Gov. John Kasich’s two-year budget proposal directs $31 million to be spent on home- and community-based services.

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A boost to home care came last week when the federal government awarded Ohio $169 million to help keep seniors and the disabled in their homes.

Ohio was one of 16 states awarded funding through the Affordable Care Act’s Balancing Incentive Program. The aid is provided to help states reach a goal of using at least half of their long-term-care spending on non-institutional care by 2015.

About 43 percent of Ohio’s long-term spending is now directed to home- and community-based care, up from 39 percent in 2009, according to Ohio Medicaid officials.

Officials say there are no waiting lists currently for state home-care programs for Medicaid-eligible Ohioans. They say the federal aid will help make it easier and faster to get most services….

Regardless of the direction Ohio goes with Medicaid expansion, continued support for home health care options makes good sense.

The (Toledo) Blade