July Legislative Update
Kelly Vyzral, Director of Govenment AffairsOPA/OSHP Pharmacy Legislative Day and Health Screening
The 2005 OPA/OSHP Pharmacy Legislative Day and Health Screening has been scheduled for Wednesday, September 21, at the Riffe Center in downtown Columbus. We will be offering blood glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure, and bone density testing screenings to the members of the legislature, their staff, and the general public from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. This will be a great opportunity to educate Ohio lawmakers and the public about the practice of pharmacy, and where it's going. In the afternoon, you will have the opportunity to earn 0.45 CEUs, including one hour of Ohio jurisprudence. A legislative reception will follow from 5:00-7:00 p.m. This reception provides a perfect opportunity to meet your legislator, as well as the legislative leaders of the Ohio House and Senate, and talk to them personally about issues that affect your livelihood and the practice of pharmacy in Ohio. Meeting brochures with registration information have been mailed. You may also register online at www.ohiopharmacists.org.
Sub. HB 66: Final Budget Bill Update
The biennial budget for 2005-2006 is almost complete. On June 1, 2005, Sub. HB 66 was passed out of the Senate by a 19-13 vote. Because the House refused to agree to the changes the Senate made to the legislation, the bill was sent to Conference Committee. The Conference Committee met to hash out the over 500 points of difference between the House and Senate versions of the budget. The Conference Committee was made up of three members of the Ohio House: House Finance Chairman Charles Calvert (R-Medina), Rep. Tom Raga (R-Mason) and Rep. Dale Miller (D-Cleveland); and three members of the Ohio Senate: Senate Finance Chairman John Carey (R-Wellston), Sen. Ron Amstutz (R-Wooster) and Sen. Tom Roberts (D-Dayton). The compromise version of the budget was voted on by the full House and Senate on Tuesday, June 21, 2005. The bill now awaits the Governor's signature.
The following items were part of the final budget as approved by the legislature.
$3 for non-formulary
$2 for brand drugs on formulary
$0 for generics
While we were greatly encouraged by the addition of the weekly price updates for generic and brand drugs, as well as the Right of Refusal language for unpaid co-pays, the Conference Committee cut a provision added by the Senate that would have allowed ODJFS to implement a step-therapy program. Patient advocates, providers groups, and pharmaceutical manufacturers lobbied the legislature for removal of the language, saying that a step-therapy program would keep patients from getting the drugs they need. The drug manufacturers know the effect pharmacists would have on their bottom line, as well as the Medicaid budget, if you were able to promote lesser expensive generics or over-the-counter medications to your patients. We, in turn, reminded them that for every 1% switch to generics, Medicaid would save $19 million. They could easily have savings of over $100 million, more than double what they will get from cutting our reimbursement by 2%.
We have appealed to the Governor to use his authority to stop the unfair pharmacy reimbursement cut.
If you have any questions or comments about the issues mentioned in this article, please contact Kelly Vyzral, Director of Government Affairs at 614.586.1497 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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, $$Link,AWS_SSL:DisplayInputForm&FormID=37, CLICK HERE!$$