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Ohio makes progress in delivering long-term services; challenges remain


Despite a large increase in the older population, Ohio's Medicaid expenditures and utilization rates have remained relatively constant for long-term care services for people over the age of 60, says a new study by Miami University's Scripps Gerontology Center.

Researchers compared Medicaid utilization rates and expenditures from 1997 to 2011, determining that the state of Ohio served an additional 16,600 older people with severe disabilities in 2011 for about $12 more per person, per year – a total increase of $195,400. The total number of older people served grew from 61,820 to 78,480 in 2011, reflecting the growing number of older people but not an increased rate of utilization, meaning those served reflected a similar portion of Ohio’s population.

The report documents the change in Ohio’s approach to delivering long-term care services, with a significant, planned move toward more in-home care. According to the new report, in 1993, 91 out of every 100 older people receiving Medicaid-funded long-term care did so in an institutional setting. By 2011, the ratio shifted to 55 out of 100 in institutional care settings and 45 out of 100 receiving in-home care.

Bob Applebaum, Scripps researcher and director of the Ohio Long-Term Care
Research Project commented, “Twenty years ago, state policy makers began an effort to re-balance Ohio’s long-term care system and this study documents the significant progress the state has made.”

This is not enough, however, according to researchers at the center. Ohio has
seen a greater number of the “young old,” those between 60 and 64, using long-term care services and a doubling of the “oldest old,” the 85 and older population.

“While the state has made excellent progress, the road ahead is even more difficult than the path already traveled,” Applebaum concluded.

This study was funded by a grant from the Ohio Department of Aging and by a grant from the Ohio General Assembly through the Ohio Board of Regents. The findings are published in a brief report titled “Delivering Long-Term Services to Ohio Elders” and is available online.


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