COLUMBUS – As the number of older adults in Ohio continues to grow and the baby boomer generation ages into retirement, data released by LeadingAge, LeadingAge Ohio’s national affiliate, shows that both high- and low-quality nursing homes are closing at high rates. In Ohio, 44% of the nursing homes that closed their doors from 2015 to 2019 had been given a 4- or 5-star rating in the year before closure.
Data released in the LeadingAge Nursing Home Closures and Trends report shows that Ohio was in the top tier of states with the most closures nationally, with Ohio having the third-most closures of all states.
“One might assume that most closures were related to low-quality care, but the data do not support this,” said Kathryn Brod, President/CEO of LeadingAge Ohio. “The fact that nursing homes receiving CMS’ high-quality scores are closing at a similar rate to nursing homes receiving CMS’ low-quality scores suggests that additional pressures are causing them to shut their doors.”
The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Studies (CMS) rate nursing homes through Nursing Home Compare, using a quality rating system that gives each nursing home a rating between 1 and 5 stars. CMS rates 4- and 5-star facilities as providing “Above Average” to “Much Above Average” care. 44% of facilities closing in Ohio were 1- or 2-star rated, almost identical to the number of 4- and 5-star facilities.
LeadingAge (national) suggests that adequate Medicaid payments, regulatory reform related to survey administration, and the creation of a “critical access” designation for rural nursing homes could better support quality providers. The report also calls on providers to “reconsider how they deliver aging services.”
These data come during a time when the only age group experiencing in-migration—greater numbers moving into Ohio from other states than are leaving-- are those individuals aged 80 and older. 2020 census estimates are expected to show that Ohio’s population of individuals aged over 60 outnumber those under 18, heightening the need for quality care options around the state.
The Ohio General Assembly and the DeWine Administration took steps toward increasing supports for home- and community-based services in 2019 through increases to the Assisted Living Waiver and PASSPORT programs in HB 166, the state operating budget. A new quality incentive payment to nursing facilities was also included in the budget. LeadingAge Ohio was at the forefront of advocacy efforts to enact these increases, as quality care is needed to serve Ohioans across the range of settings individuals call home.
Founded in 1937, LeadingAge Ohio is a nonprofit organization that represents over 400 long-term care organizations and hospices, as well as those providing ancillary health care and housing services, in more than 150 Ohio towns and cities. The continuum of care reflected by the member organizations serve an estimated 400,000 elderly Ohioans daily and employ more than 35,000 persons statewide.