During his 2018 campaign for Ohio treasurer, Robert Sprague spoke of implementing an initiative that could fund proven solutions to the state’s most persistent problems. In March, he proposed plans for the ResultsOhio program.
“Well, we thought we would do what we said we’re going to do,” Sprague said in a one-on-one interview with The Gazette earlier this week. “It’s a phenomenal program. It takes the guesswork out of launching some of these programs.”
Sprague said ResultsOhio would become a fund administered through the state treasurer’s office to pay for successful projects undertaken by the State of Ohio.
Sprague’s keyword is “successful.” He said the state would only pay for projects that were proven successful by meeting the “upfront” agreed upon metrics and measures for the project.
The treasurer said a bond would be issued to a private sector company where the metrics are agreed upon upfront. He said a two-year pilot would be conducted on the project, and then an analysis of the data would be done by an independent firm to determine if the measures were met for success. All the while, the company bears the upfront cost until the project is proven successful.
“If you’re able to cross the hurdle, then the state buys back that bond that was issued for the pilot program, plus an incentive payment for success,” he said. “The state now owns something that works better than what we were doing before.”
Sprague said that on the back end, the state is saving an “enormous amount of money.”
“This is not a panacea … but a great way to start new projects in the state of Ohio demanding innovative thinking,” he said.
Sprague said the idea was “born out of frustration” with the heroin epidemic when he was a representative in the Ohio House. He said the state is paying the cost of treatment, Hep C, children in protective services, and the criminal justice system.
“We shoved all this money down the pipe for treatment, but what we found was Medicaid would pay for things in pieces,” he said. “It will pay for detox, a certain amount for medication and treatment, intensive outpatient therapy, and a little bit of group therapy, but it won’t pay for the critical elements of peer sponsorship or housing.”
Sprague said that Medicaid pays for everything in “slices of care.”
“The problem is the payment model,” he said. “I was trying to devise a payment model that paid on the back end for things that are working, instead of paying for grants on the front end like we normally do.”
Sprague said ResultsOhio has a lot of applicability not only for the heroin epidemic, but also for infant mortality, long-term care, water quality, workforce training, criminal justice, and a long list of other problems.
Sprague has been working with the state legislation on moving the bill forward to create the state funding mechanism.
“We’re really appreciative of (state Rep.) Don Manning (R-District 59, New Middletown), who carried the bill in the house and state Sen. Steve Wilson (R-District 7, Maineville), who’s carrying it in the Senate,” he said. “We’re really appreciative of their partnership in helping us move this forward.”
Sprague said ResultsOhio will take the guesswork out of running a government.
According to a press release, ResultOhio has the backing of Pat Tiberi, Ohio Business Roundtable president and chief executive officer; Nick Lashutka, Ohio Children’s Hospital Association president and chief executive officer; and Adam Sharp, Ohio Farm Bureau executive vice president.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.