Ohio Legislative Update
This week, the OSMA continued to work with state officials to advocate for you, our Ohio physicians, as decisions are being made on major health policy issues. Here is a rundown of the main issues debated in the Ohio legislature this week and their impact on physicians and the overall healthcare system:
As always, if you have questions about our advocacy efforts or want to learn more about how to get involved, contact our government affairs department.
As OSMA reported last week, our advocacy team has been closely monitoring the progress of two legislative proposals which seek to expand civil immunity for health care and service providers during the pandemic. Late last week, the Ohio House passed House Bill 606 and it is expected to begin hearings in the Senate. This week, Senate Bill 308 was passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee and later passed on the Senate floor. OSMA supports both pieces of legislation and provided testimony on behalf of Ohio’s physician community in the hearings held for both bills.
Passing an expanded immunity bill is a legislative priority for OSMA, and we hope to see either of these two proposals advanced to the finish line by legislators before they recess for the summer in a few weeks. Stay tuned for future updates.
This week, OSMA testified regarding House Bill 679, a newly-introduced bill which would modify several requirements related to telehealth services. The sponsors have stated that the bill is intended to expand access to telehealth for more Ohioans and make it easier for providers to use telehealth to care for patients, in part due to the astronomical growth in utilization of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic. OSMA is a long-time advocate for telehealth, but took this opportunity to express several questions and provide clarifying language for the bill to the sponsors in interested party testimony.
The advocacy team expects to continue to work with the sponsors on this bill in the coming weeks. We will provide updates as there are new developments in the process.
Senate Bill 97 would require hospitals, using information provided by the patient’s health plan issuer, to provide a patient with a verbal or written cost estimate for health care services scheduled at least 7 days in advance. OSMA has been working collaboratively with the legislature and other interested parties on the complex issue of medical price transparency for several years now, and continues to support this legislation. SB 97 passed unanimously through the Senate last fall and is now being considered in the House Health Committee.
SB 97 gives patients valuable tools with which to request pricing information and would help Ohioans to make more informed decisions regarding their care by allowing them to better anticipate costs associated with the care they receive. The bill had its second hearing in the House last month, and OSMA will continue to monitor and support this bill as the House continues its activity this month.
Senate Bill 252, an OSMA-supported bill which would prohibit the use of “fail first” step therapy coverage limitations with regard to stage four advanced metastatic cancer, was passed unanimously out of the Ohio Senate yesterday. The Ohio House will now consider the legislation.
House Bill 136, also supported by OSMA, was passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday. This bill would prohibit imposing the death penalty for aggravated murder when the offender had a serious mental illness at the time of the offense.
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