Medicaid law impacts Tri-State Industries

Published 10:16 am Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Will stop providing adult services after Dec. 31

COAL GROVE — After Dec. 31, Tri-State Industries will no longer provide adult services for the Lawrence County Board of Developmental Disabilities due to a federal law enacted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

While the law impacts all of Ohio’s boards of DD, superintendent for Lawrence County’s board, Paul Mollett, said he believes the transition should be a positive one for the roughly 200 local clients and that no services will be disrupted.

According to the CMS, county boards of DD can no longer recommend a set of services, and then turn around and provide those same services using Medicaid dollars, citing it creates a conflict of interest.

Email newsletter signup

“The board of DD is a Medicaid-funded agency,” Mollett said. “We bill for a lot of our services. Tri-State Industries is a little separate, but they are affiliated with us in a direct way. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid have made it very clear, across the state, that it is a conflict for an agency to be a provider of service and the case managers for the services,” Mollett said. “It violates the freedom of choice of providers.”

While the state has until 2024 to become fully compliant, Mollett said the Lawrence County Board of DD recently provided a transition plan to the state board, which was “approved rapidly.”

Mollett said the Lawrence County board has known about the new law for a few years and used that time to see how other counties were transitioning.

“During these three to four years, we have watched, observed, visited and looked at our options,” he said. “We became one of the last five or six (counties) to not transition yet.”

Mollett assured that there will be no disruption of services for adult clients, and the transition will not affect Open Door School or the Early Childhood Academy.

He also said Tri-State Industries will no longer take new clients, but instead, refer them to another provider. By Dec. 31, the agency will cease providing any services and have already found some providers who are interested in moving into the Tri-State Industries and Sybene buildings, which will remain under the ownership of the board of DD.

“There is going to be no end to adult services,” Mollet said. “And the Sybene building and Tri-State Industries, they just won’t be known as those names. There will be other providers. (Clients) get to pick a provider by meeting them and seeing who best fits their needs.”

Mollett also said the board of DD will still be active and have “quality control over the process.” He said parents and guardians of clients can expect to be able to attend meeting to learn about the new changes and that letters have already been sent home.

“I think what we end up with in Lawrence County will be, if not better, the same level of services,” Mollett said. “We really do need to have more than one provider. The state wouldn’t be satisfied if we weren’t providing consumers more than one option. There will be Multiple things between now and December to empower (consumers) to make choices on their own. Our interest is providing the very best for consumers.”