On June 15, Executive Director, Janet Shaw, testified on behalf of the OPPA before the Senate Finance Committee to request that the Committee add back the telemedicine amendment inserted and passed by the House, which was subsequently removed by the Senate.
As reported in the statehouse news service, Gongwer:
Telemedicine Reimbursement: Janet Shaw, executive director of the Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Association, praised a provision that provides reimbursement for telemedicine. She said it will allow more of the one in five Ohioans that experience a mental illness each year to get the treatment they need.
Ms. Shaw also said the program can be a tool used to fight the opioid epidemic and reduce drug overdose deaths.
"Perhaps many of these lives could have been saved if Ohioans had increased access to physicians who have been trained to treat drug addiction and untreated co-occurring mental illness - which is, in many instances, what causes an individual to abuse alcohol and prescription medications, as well as other illicit drugs," she said.
"Telemedicine (including tele-psychiatry) is a powerful tool that can connect people with mental health and addiction treatment services. It is a key innovation in support of health care delivery reform, it is being used in initiatives to improve access to care and care coordination, and it is being utilized to reduce the rate of growth in health care spending."
Update on June 20: The telemedicine provision was not included in the Senate Omnibus Amendment. The OPPA will consider identifying a member of the legislature who would be willing to introduce a stand-alone telemedicine bill. Ohio's budget bill will now move on to the conference committee.