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OPA Testifies Before OH Senate Health Committee: SB 271

Drug Repository Program, Medicaid Budget Planning Meeting

Legislative Update December 2002
Alyson Welsh, Director of Government Affairs

Ohio Republicans Retain Control of Cabinet, Senate and House of Representatives

The election season is over -- finally! Republicans in Ohio swept the state on Election Day. Governor Bob Taft gained re-election in a race against Democratic opponent Tim Hagan. On the campaign trail and in many commercials, prescription drugs topped the list of issues being debated. As you know, Governor Taft was successful in enacting the Golden Buckeye Card Prescription Discount Program that was debated for nearly two years, and was finally included in the state budget corrections bill. Republicans also won every statewide seat and retained the majority party in both the Ohio Senate and Ohio House of Representatives. The 125th Ohio General Assembly will begin January 1, 2003 with pharmacy issues sure to top the agenda.

2002 Election Results
Statewide Races


Governor: Bob Taft/Jenette Bradley
Auditor: Betty Montgomery
Attorney General: Jim Petro
Treasurer: Joe Deters
Secretary of State: Ken Blackwell
Justice of the Supreme Court: Eve Stratton
Justice of the Supreme Court: Maureen O’Connor

OPA Testifies Before Ohio Senate Health Committee: SB 271

OPA Government Affairs Director Alyson Welsh testified before the Ohio Senate Health and Human Services Committee on November 13, 2002 in support of Senate Bill 271, the Uniform Prescription Drug Card legislation. Ms. Welsh explained to committee members the concerns pharmacists have with insurance cards, and how they often do not contain the necessary information for pharmacy claim processing. SB 271 would require health insurance companies to list the information necessary for pharmacy claims processing on their insurance cards in conjunction with the NCPDP standards. The specific information required would be the RXBin # and a phone number to call regarding pharmacy claims. The bill does not mandate insurance companies to create new cards when the bill is passed, but allows them a one-year grace period to update their cards. Ohio’s bill was modeled after legislation that passed last year in Indiana. OPA will continue to work behind the scenes to inform legislators on the importance of this legislation for Ohioans.

Drug Repository Program to be Established in Ohio!

During the lame duck session in November, Ohio legislators passed House Bill 221, the Drug Repository Program legislation sponsored by State Representative Kirk Schuring (R-Canton). HB 221 will require the State Board of Pharmacy, in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Health, to create a list of drugs that will be allowed to be donated to the repository program. The idea behind this bill came from a constituent of Rep. Schuring’s whose wife passed away leaving several bottles of “unopened” drugs. Only drugs in their original unit-of-use packaging may be donated to the program, and those drugs may only be donated at participating pharmacies and nonprofit health care clinics. The program will be VOLUNTARY for all Ohio pharmacies!

OPA was successful in many amendments to the bill, including immunity language protecting pharmacies or pharmacists from being pursued legally for participating in the program if something were to happen with an adulterated drug. The bill was scaled down dramatically from the first version which allowed any drug to be donated and re-dispensed. The bill has since been amended as OPA explained the impractical nature of returning drugs to pharmacies and the impossibility of pharmacists to visually detect any adulteration with a prescription drug being returned. In addition to tampering concerns, OPA also addressed the issue of proper storage of returned drugs. Based on these concerns, Rep. Schuring then changed the bill to require the State Board of Pharmacy to create a list of drugs under the program that would be able to be donated that can withstand different and unknown storage situations and that would be “tamper resistant.”

Governor Taft is expected to sign HB 221 into law soon, and the program will be effective one year after that date. OPA will continue to work with the State Board of Pharmacy and Ohio Department of Health as this program is developed.

OPA Members Attend Medicaid Budget Planning Meeting

OPA was well represented at a recent Ohio Medicaid Budget planning meeting that was held with health care provider representatives and Ohio health insurance companies. The Medicaid department is studying ways to save money in the upcoming budget cycles for the Aging, Blind and Disabled (ABD) population. The ABD population of Medicaid in Ohio accounts for approximately 30 percent of the total number of participants and 80 percent of the Medicaid budget. The state is looking into “care management” programs for the ABD population to control costs and manage care more efficiently. OPA President Elect Debbie Lange, Vice President Marc Sweeney, OPA member Susan Brown, along with OPA Lobbyist Alyson Welsh, attended the meeting. The working group will continue meeting with Medicaid officials to ensure pharmacists are well represented.

Get Involved Politically !
Join other pharmacists and become a “key legislative contact” for your area. This is a great way to establish and/or maintain relationships with key state officials.
To register online as a Legislative Contact, $$Link,AWS_SSL:DisplayInputForm&FormID=18,CLICK HERE!$$
Or you may contact Alyson Welsh at awelsh@ohiopharmacists.org to get involved!

What is the Ohio Pharmacy PAC?
The Pharmacy Political Action Committee is a voluntary, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of pharmacists who are interested in promoting good government and public health. Pharmacy PAC money contributed by pharmacists goes to help candidates who support pharmacy in Ohio. That's right, your money is used to support political clout for Pharmacy … right here in Ohio!

To make a secure online donation to the Ohio Pharmacy PAC, $$Link,AWS_SSL:DisplayInputForm&FormID=37, CLICK HERE!$$

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