‘Bed tax’ tucked in budget


The state’s budget woes are being balanced on the backs of Ohio’s aging and sick citizens, according to
some nursing home and hospital officials.
As of October, the "bed tax" at nursing homes will be nearly doubled to $11.95 per bed each
day, and a new assessment will be charged to non-profit hospitals. Locally, the new fees will cost
individual nursing homes about $400,000 a year, and Wood County Hospital an estimated $1.2 million a
The new fees are part of a game to get more Medicaid money from the federal government.
For example, the franchisee fee, which will raise $709 million from hospitals for the state’s Medicaid
program, is intended to bring $1.8 billion in federal matching funds to the state. The matching funds
will be used to increase reimbursements for Medicaid care, but the Ohio Hospital Association estimates
that $145 million of the money paid by the hospitals will not be recouped by these reimbursement
That has Wood County Hospital Administrator Stan Korducki more than a little concerned. He described it
this way: If Ohio wants to take $1 from his hospital in order to get $3 from Washington, that’s fine as
long as Wood County Hospital gets its $1 back. But he’s not expecting that to happen.
The new fee will require hospitals to pay a fee of 1.52 percent of their operating expenses. In 2011,
this fee will increase to 1.61 percent.
"This is not the ideal time for any hospital, for the state to do this," Korducki said, noting
that many hospitals are already hurting from patients putting off elective medical procedures. "We
want to keep rates low."
The magnified bed tax is causing the same type of turmoil for nursing homes, according to Tom Blakely,
administrator of Blakely Care Center in Bowling Green. The tax, also called a franchise fee, is jumping
from $6.25 to $11.95 per bed per day. That is regardless of whether the beds are full or whether the
patient is covered by Medicaid – a double whammy against nursing homes.
Blakely had some harsh words for the state’s efforts to collect more money from nursing homes in order to
get more federal reimbursements.
"It’s nothing but a scam on the federal government," he said. "When you hear they are
balancing the budget on the backs of the elderly, that’s how they are doing it."
Blakely is planning on his facility recouping only about half of the $344,000 it will send down to
Columbus. The other half will have to be made up for through rate increases or expense cuts.
"That’s a huge increase," he said of the prospect of charging the residents more to make up
for the new fees.
Bowling Green Manor, a 100-bed facility, is expecting to pay more than $400,000 in the increased bed tax,
according to administrator Brooke Harrison.
"They are increasing fees and not increasing reimbursements," he said. "It’s going to be
tough for some facilities to handle."
With Medicaid reimbursements being stagnant for many years, Harrison said nursing homes already lose
money on several patients.
"We’re being asked to do more, with less reimbursement," she said.
As a county-owned nursing home, Wood Haven Health Care has been exempt from bed taxes in the past.
However, that may soon change, which could result in that facility paying about $400,000 a year to the
"That would be a major expense," said Dave Cecil, administrator of the county home. "We’re
having to scramble to find out how to continue to provide these services."
Korducki is facing the same dilemma at the hospital – with plans already in place to increase rates and
control costs.
"This is really difficult to digest," he said.

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