Issue 16 | March 2021
LeadingAge Ohio is pleased to share with you our legislative newsletter - The Aging Advocate. This monthly publication is designed to communicate what's going on in the world of aging and give you a peek at LeadingAge Ohio's 400+ members around the state. 
What's Inside?
  • Aging-focused economic impact study distributed to legislature, findings significant
  • Governor at "end of his rope" with providers struggling with confusing vaccine survey
  • LeadingAge Ohio members give voice to budget issues at hearings and virtual lobby week
  • And more!
Aging Happenings
Aging-focused economic impact study distributed to legislature, findings significant
Last week, LeadingAge Ohio released a long-awaited report on the economic impact of LeadingAge Ohio members, which clearly demonstrates aging services providers as important employers and economic drivers in communities across Ohio. LeadingAge Ohio worked with researchers from the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill to conduct the study.
In addition to economic findings, the report characterizes the present and future challenges Ohio will likely face as its senior population grows and provides estimates of present and future needs within the sector.

LeadingAge Ohio President/CEO Kathryn Brod stated:
“The report characterizes both the present and future need to support the aging services workforce, which was heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Ohio is rapidly aging; continuing support by the state will be crucial as providers work to bounce back from the devastation of the past year and prepare to serve a growing number of older adults in need of care.”
The report contains significant findings on Ohio’s older adult population:
  • While Ohio's population is expected to remain roughly constant, Ohio's senior population is expected to increase by 20.7% from 2019 to 2030.
  • During that same timeframe, Ohio’s senior dependency ratio, an indicator of demographic stress that measures the ratio of non-working, dependent older adults to the working population, is expected to grow by 25%.
  • The 65 and up population is expected to peak in 2030.
  • The 85 and up population, which typically experiences greater, costlier care needs, will continue to grow until at least 2050.
Also uncovered were geographic inequalities in life expectancy that vary by as much as nearly three decades from one zip code to another. Some of this pattern is driven by racial disparities. An assessment estimated life expectancy at birth for Ohioans to be 74.3 years for white males, 79.2 for white females, 67.6 for black males, and 74.3 for black females.
The report also sheds light on the aging services workforce serving Ohio’s rapidly growing number of older adults:
  • By 2040, a 44% increase in frontline, medical, and social support personnel in Ohio senior living communities will be required to maintain current staffing levels.
  • The median hourly wage of the top job in senior living (Healthcare Support Operations, which includes State Tested Nurse Aides (STNA), Certified Nurse Aides (CNA), Home Health Aides) is $12.89.
  • According to the Top Jobs List released by the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation, Ohio’s three top jobs all serve older Ohioans in aging services.
The economic impact report was distributed last week to all state legislative offices. The report is available in hard copy and via the LeadingAge Ohio Advocacy Resources webpage

Governor at "end of his rope" with providers struggling with confusing vaccine survey

Per Governor DeWine:

“I'm to the end of my rope with them, frankly. I don't know what else to do but make this information public. I think people have the right to know something the state is providing that will save lives."

LeadingAge Ohio reached out to the roughly two dozen members who appeared on the list (which has since been updated as providers fall into compliance) and found some startling facts. In every case but one involving a LeadingAge Ohio member, the issue stemmed from confusion related to the structure of the survey for those with more than one level of care on a site. Most cases involved life plan communities that serve residents in nursing facilities and assisted living facilities on the same property. All members appearing on the list had a plan in place to vaccinate residents. None had received notification that areas of their organizations were apparently unregistered.
LeadingAge Ohio members’ experience with the registration process led to the distribution of the following statement on Monday, March 29 in response:

"Nearly every LeadingAge Ohio member appearing on the list had a plan in place for offering the vaccine to new residents and staff. Many of the organizations on the list are leaders among their peers, with vaccination rates among residents and staff far above the state averages.
Many members confirmed their issues stemmed from the process of reporting vaccine plans to the state, particularly life plan communities that serve both a nursing home and assisted living on the same site. Governor DeWine’s statement of frustration for providers working tirelessly to protect high risk Ohioans was profoundly disheartening, particularly given the ease with which the reporting issue was rectified. "

LeadingAge Ohio continues to work with state partners and members on this important issue.
LeadingAge Ohio members give voice to budget issues at hearings and virtual lobby week
As the biennium budget process continues and the House approaches completion of its version of the budget bill, LeadingAge Ohio and its members have been strongly advocating for the priorities of the hard-hit aging services and post-acute care workforce.

LeadingAge Ohio was asked to participate in an aging services panel at the February 24 Ohio House Finance Subcommittee on Health & Human Services meeting to discuss budget needs. LeadingAge Ohio was also asked to present testimony at the March 4 Ohio House Families, Aging, and Human Services Committee on challenges faced by aging services providers both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

LeadingAge Ohio also held a virtual lobby week this past month. An enormous thank you to those legislative offices who met with LeadingAge Ohio and its members from within their specific districts. The week closed with 20 different legislative visits.

Policy briefs created for communicating association priorities include: Nursing facility budget issue brief; Adult day budget issue brief; HCBS budget issue brief; PACE advocacy issue brief.
Senate Finance Chair Matt Dolan and House Finance Chair Scott Oelslager helped kicked off the lobby week.
Senate President Matt Huffman met with Green Hills Community in West Liberty, Ohio.
House Majority Whip Don Jones met with Valley Hospice in Rayland, Ohio.
Representative Beth Liston met with Friendship Village of Dublin in Dublin, Ohio.
About LeadingAge Ohio
Founded in 1937, LeadingAge Ohio is a nonprofit trade association that represents over 400 long-term care organizations and hospices, as well as those providing ancillary health care and housing services, in more than 150 Ohio towns and cities. The continuum of care reflected by the member organizations serve an estimated 400,000 elderly Ohioans daily and employ more than 35,000 persons statewide.

Want to meet with LeadingAge Ohio? Share a story? Visit a provider in your community?