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Legislative Update May 2001- HB 210, HB 4, HB 100

Alyson Welsh, Director of Government Affairs

House Bill 210: Retail Food Establishment Licensure Exemption

State Representative Tim Schaffer introduces bill to exempt pharmacies from the new licensure requirements as a retail food establishment!

HB 210 was introduced on April 9, 2001 by State Representative Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster). OPA contacted Rep. Schaffer when pharmacies around the state started to receive an additional license requirement by local boards of health as Retail Food Establishments (RFEs). The local boards of health were given the authority to license pharmacies under a bill that passed last year which was intended to revamp and clean-up the complex licensure program for grocery stores. Under that new law, RFE was defined as “a premises or part of a premises where food, over-the-counter drugs, nutrients designed for use in lieu of pharmaceuticals, and products designed for use as dietary supplements are stored, processed, prepared, manufactured, or otherwise held or handled for retail sale.” Therefore, pharmacies began receiving visits from local health boards, as well as large fees for this new licensure requirement.

OPA has been working with Rep. Schaffer, Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives Larry Householder, and Senator Lynn Wachtmann to alleviate this concern. HB 210 will delete the following language in the definition of RFE: “over-the-counter drugs, nutrients designed for use in lieu of pharmaceuticals, and products designed for use as dietary supplements.” Therefore, pharmacies in Ohio that are not processing, preparing or manufacturing food products will no longer be required to be licensed as an RFE.

If you have already received a visit from your local health board and been licensed as an RFE, unfortunately this bill will not be retroactive. However, HB 210 does contain an emergency clause in the language which means as soon as the bill is signed into law, it will be effective. Usually, after a bill is signed into law there is a waiting period of 90 days before the bill becomes law. With the help of leadership in both the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate, OPA will be working to get this bill passed quickly!

House Bill 4: Golden Buckeye Discount Card Program

OPA has been successful in slowing down the movement of this piece of legislation. HB 4 was scheduled to be voted on in the Ohio House Health and Family Services Committee recently and was taken off the agenda at the last minute. OPA has been working with State Representative John Hagan (R-Alliance), sponsor of HB 4, on amendments to the bill to ensure a program that would not be carried solely by the retail pharmacy. OPA will continue to work closely with Rep. Hagan and the House Health Committee on this bill.

House Bill 100: Diabetes Coverage

HB 100 was introduced on February 15, 2001, by State Representative Michelle Schneider (R-Madeira). This bill would require certain health care policies, contracts, agreements, and plans to provide benefits for equipment, supplies, and medication for the diagnosis, treatment, and management of diabetes and for diabetes self-management education. State Senator Jeffrey Armbruster (R-Lorain) has introduced the same measure in the Ohio Senate.

As stated in HB 100, “the benefits would cover the expenses of diabetes self-management education only if the education is provided by an individual with expertise in diabetes care, including an expert who is a dietician, physician, pharmacist, registered or licensed practical nurse…”

OPA has been a member of the Ohioans for Diabetes Control for several years. This coalition is committed to the passage of a Diabetes Cost Reduction Act, and has been diligently working to educate Ohio’s legislators on the cost savings associated with self-management and early diagnosis of diabetes. HB 100 has received two hearings in the Ohio House Health and Family Services Committee. OPA will continue to have these bills as top priorities!
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