Robyn Dixon was one of the lucky Ohio nurses: after losing her job at the Golden Years Nursing Center in Hamilton, OH, she was quickly able to find another position in Cincinnati. But the fate of nearly 3,000 other laid-off Ohio nursing home staff remains largely unknown.
In October, the federal government cut Medicare payments to nursing homes by 11 percent. The news was a devastating blow to Ohio’s nursing homes, which were already crippled by a six percent reduction in state funding in July.
“Nursing homes were expecting the state cuts…but were caught by surprise when the federal government cut Medicare payments,” said Peter Van Runkle, Executive Director of the Ohio Health Care Association “That hit (nursing homes) hard.”
According to a recent MSNBC report, 70 percent of Ohio’s nursing-home costs are paid for by the government. Approximately one-third of Ohio’s nursing homes were affected by the job cuts. Most of the jobs that were slashed were nursing positions.
Representatives from Gov. John Kasich’s Office of Health Care Transformation say the cuts will be offset by other work opportunities in long-term care.
“Taxpayers can’t afford to pay for costly institutional care in nursing homes like we did in the past,” said spokesman Eric Poklar. “Seniors are saying loud and clear that they prefer to receive services in home- and community-based settings.
Or are they?
“[The cuts] are unfortunate,” said Robyn Dixon, the Ohio nurse who was laid off. “The patients need us, and if we’re being let go, who are they going to rely on? They need us. It’s sad.”
VIDEO: December 8, 2011 Ohio News Network
Ohio Nursing Homes Report Thousands of Job Cuts December 8, 2011 MSNBC
Nursing Homes Protest Funding Cuts December 8, 2011 The Columbus Dispatch