Tara Britton, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy

Chairman Oelslager, Vice Chair Plummer, Ranking Member Crawley and members of the House Finance committee, thank you for taking the time to review our brief interested party testimony on Substitute House Bill 110. The Center for Community Solutions is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank that aims to improve health, social and economic conditions through research, policy analysis and communication.

We are grateful that Substitute House Bill 110 includes an increase in funding for adult protective services. We want to thank the members of the Health and Human Services Subcommittee for their work on this issue. Community Solutions has a long history of advocating for a strong adult protective services system in Ohio. Even before the pandemic, older Ohioans could face the prospect of unjust circumstances such as financial exploitation from scam artists, friends or family and physical, sexual or emotional abuse. And then as we entered the pandemic and social distancing requirements were implemented for all our safety, older adults, like all of us, have had less interaction with society, reducing the likelihood for mandatory reporters of elder abuse to recognize and report it. The increase included in the substitute bill will bring the allocation to $65,000 per county, enough to support at least one full time dedicated APS caseworker, a state funding level that has not been achieved in this program to date.

We are excited to see the inclusion of the Elderly/Disabled Simplified Application Project (EDSAP) to increase access to and retention in SNAP for older adults and disabled Ohioans in this substitute bill. This waiver package is crucial in an increasingly aging state where a large population of older adults is eligible for SNAP but face numerous barriers in remaining consistently enrolled in the program. Additionally, this waiver package will reduce county workloads and allow caseworkers to dedicate more time to more difficult SNAP cases.

Of concern are some of the changes in Medicaid to proposed nursing facility policy. With the outsized role facilities played during the pandemic, it’s important these critical institutions meet the standard of quality we should all expect when loved ones are under their care. To that end, we are hopeful the legislature reconsiders the relaxation of quality standards and does more to tie reimbursement to achieving value. If anything, the newly created Quality Incentive Payment Commission’s recommendations should obligate JMOC’s actuary, during the rate target setting process, to specifically identify how adoption of those recommendations does or does not affect the overall growth rate in the program.

We continue to support the recommendations of the Multi-System Youth (MSY) Action Plan and current state efforts and funding to develop a program that can provide more comprehensive care for children with complex needs through OhioRISE (Resilience through Integrated Systems and Excellence). State support, across the board for MSY, is so appreciated by families navigating a complex network of care for their children.

Thank you for your time and attention to these vital programs that serve Ohioans. We are happy to provide additional information or answer any questions at tbritton@communitysolutions.com. Thank you.