Changes to Public and Private Health Care in Ohio Have Benefits and Reprecussions
In an attempt to make their services and responsibilities clearer to the community, the Clermont County General Health District of Clermont County, Ohio decided to change its name and logo. Now called Clermont County Public Health, the agency hopes that the new branding will clarify residents’ perceptions of their role in the area. This comprehensive change reads as a positive step at a time when Ohio’s changing healthcare system seems to be making many things more opaque.
Clermont County Public Health has also switched to a logo now being used by public health agencies around the United States. The new image takes its inspiration from the first blue and yellow flag to be flown in the Colonies in 1749, as a method of requesting help from the maritime health service. The legacy of these colors is often clearly apparent, as public health nurses and the U.S. Public Health Service always wear blue uniforms. Accordingly, the new logo is blue, white and khaki, with the maxim “Prevent. Promote. Protect” under it’s three-pointed shield.
Like many similar community organizations around the country, Clermont County Public Health offers a wide range of services to their area. These services include providing immunizations for children and adults, administering a local Women, Infants and Children nutritional program, and a number of inspection and licensing services that cover everything from plumbing and septic systems to restaurant safety. They currently employ 47 public health professionals and support staff. They can be contacted at their new website, www.ccphohio.org, or by phone at 513-732-7499.
However, in spite of this coherent change in Clermont County, healthcare in Ohio as a whole is experiencing varying degrees of confusion and controversy in the wake of the state’s change to a managed-care plan. One of the biggest problems thus far is the result of a “dual eligible” program for the elderly and disabled who receive both Medicaid and Medicare, which has caused a number of home health workers to go without pay.
Previously, payment claims from independent home health workers and companies in Ohio were submitted to the government and were typically processed within a few days. As of July 1, however, these payment claims are being processed by Aetna Better Health of Ohio or Molina Healthcare of Ohio. But while both of these private health insurers, who are among the top five largest insurance companies in the state, reportedly made a profit of $3 billion and $1.2 billion in 2013, home health workers have stated that the turnaround rate for their payments has dramatically increased, and that regular pay has become obsolete. Several companies have even complained that they have not received any money for patients who switched over to the new managed-care plan. As a result, many are losing both employees and patients, as workers are unable to care for their families as they wait for payments to come through and patients are unable to risk losing care.
Representatives from both state Medicaid and the insurance companies have stated that they are working to ensure payment are made in a timely manner. However, for home care workers, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck, this promise may not come soon enough. As the United States as a whole becomes increasingly reliant on private health care services, we are likely to see a number of similar situations, as well as positive results from working with independent corporations. For example, statistics have showed that urgent care centers see an estimated 160 million patients every year, helping reduce overwhelming patient numbers at community hospitals and doctors offices. However, with so many home health workers reportedly going unpaid due to inefficient service at a private health insurer, positive changes in government health agencies like the Clermont County Public Health administration’s comprehensive name change is certainly reassuring.
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