Bill aims to provide $300 million in federal relief funds to Ohio nursing homes

Nursing home
Posted at 10:27 PM, Nov 16, 2021

OBERLIN, Ohio — Nursing home administrators like Jill Herron will likely be the first to tell you that life remains far from normal.

“I feel like we are going into pandemic part two and that is the financial side and the burden it has put on our industry,” said Herron.

Herron is an administrator at Welcome Nursing Home in Oberlin, she said the price tag for PPE, COVID-19 testing and staffing still remain hefty and she's still trying to attract more staff members because she's short on that too.

“In order to be competitive, we’ve have had to increase our wages for staff to get anybody to come and work in our environment,” said Herron. “We’ve had to realign how we pay people and that is not going to go away."

State lawmakers say HB 461 could be a bridge over the issue that nursing homes are facing, under the legislation which has support from both parties $300 million dollars in American Rescue Plan funds could be distributed to Ohio nursing homes in a onetime payment.

The amount each facility receives is based on its per Medicaid day payment rate, the bill though doesn't specify what the money has to be used on.

“I think that there will be unified support for any effort that gives additional funding and aid and support to nursing homes,” said Ohio Represenative Terrence Upchurch. “Any bill that looks to give additional aid and support to these institutions in light of a pandemic, I’d have a hard time not supporting."

The industry also faces a Jan. 4 deadline requiring all nursing home employees to be vaccinated at facilities that accept Medicare or Medicaid as payment.

Herron says the legislation will help her and so many other nursing homes get the physical support they need.

“People that bear through 2020 are just exhausted in the healthcare field,” said Herron. “We’ve seen a large percentage of healthcare providers leave our profession."

The legislation still has a long way to go before it is voted on, lawmakers will have to act quick though because the money has to be handed out before Dec. 31.

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