I applaud the Ohio General Assembly and Gov. John Kasich for taking steps to improve the quality of health care that residents of Ohio's long-term care facilities deserve and urge the General Assembly and governor to keep quality incentive payments for skilled nursing facilities in the final state budget.
For the past 30 years, I have been the executive director of Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Retirement Services, Inc., a not-for-profit long-term care provider for more than 600 Ohio seniors, and I know the positive impact that quality improvements have on our residents. They are healthier, recover from illness more quickly, and, most importantly, lead more productive lives. When this happens, overall health care costs and lengths of stay in our communities decline.
But just as with any business improvement, achieving long-term cost reductions and efficiencies requires investment - in staff, in technology, and in our physical plant - all of which carry significant costs. Our four communities alone employ more than 500 individuals with a budget of $29.5 million annually, not insignificantly contributing to the general health of the Mahoning Valley's economy. The quality incentive payment included in both the House and Senate budget bills will help to spur investments in our community while encouraging long-term care facilities to give continued performance improvement the high priority it requires.
Shepherd of the Valley