Top Legislative Issues
The OSMA's Government Relations team serves as the voice of Ohio’s physicians—advising state departments and influencing state policy on health issues. Through leadership and education, we support and advance the physician profession in the state of Ohio.
We continue to monitor the major issues affecting the practice of medicine at the state and federal level. The top priority issues impacting the practice of medicine in Ohio are detailed below.
Current advocacy priorities include the following:
Out-of-Network Billing, or “Surprise Billing”
OSMA has been working on the issue of “surprise” out-of-network medical billing for several years now with a coalition of health care groups and other interested parties. Initially, we had serious concerns about a proposal in the Ohio House (HB 388) – mainly due to its establishment of a statutory rate cap for physician reimbursements and for its potential to tip the balance too far in favor of insurers in the contracting process.
Fortunately, OSMA raised the voices of the physician community to advocate for changes, and in May 2020, a new version of the bill was crafted with compromise language included to help alleviate physician concerns. This was accepted and it went to the House floor, where it passed with a favorable vote. The Senate will now consider the bill.
Mental Health Parity
Several years of work with a coalition seeking to bring mental health insurance coverage parity to Ohio have culminated in the introduction of House Bill 443/Senate Bill 254. A recent report assigns 32 states, including Ohio, a failing grade for ensuring equal access to mental health and addiction treatment for their citizens, even though federal law requires that health insurers provide coverage for the treatment of mental health and addiction equal to the coverage for physical illnesses and conditions. We’re working to support a robust state statute as proposed in HB 443/SB 254 to give regulators a strong tool for enforcement of parity.
OSMA submitted feedback we received from our members to the Ohio Department of Medicaid in response to a request for comments on the Medicaid managed care system as part of the upcoming rebid process. Our letter focused on key issues, including:
- The need for increased transparency and plan accountability
- Reforms to the grievances and appeals processes
- Bolstered provider support
- More streamlined and efficient patient care coordination and management.
We will continue to monitor the rebid process and any changes the state administration might seek to make to the Medicaid program.
Scope of Practice
Going into 2020, OSMA continues to advocate for a physician-led, team-based approach to care and is working on several ongoing scope-of-practice issues:
Independent, Unsupervised Practice – Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs)
House Bill 177 is an independent practice bill that would allow Ohio APRNs to practice without physician or podiatrist oversight. The most recent version adds a stipulation that in order to gain independent practice authority, an APRN must complete 2,000 hours of “clinical practice.” The term “clinical practice” is not clearly defined in the bill, which does state however that these hours are to be completed under a standard care arrangement with a licensed health care practitioner. This means that for roughly the equivalent of one year, an APRN would be required to be in a standard care arrangement, but that does not have to be with a physician. It could be with another APRN, and again, is only for a period of about one year. Along with other physician groups, we continue to advocate against this bill, reinforcing the positive impact of the current physician-led team-based model and stressing patient safety concerns.
Prescriptive Authority – Psychologists
House Bill 323 would allow certain psychologists in Ohio to prescribe medications for the treatment of mental illness and/or substance use disorder. OSMA and the Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Association (OPPA) continue to focus on this issue out of serious about patient safety.
Expanded scope of practice – Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs)
OSMA’s work with legislators has led to a solution included in House Bill 224 that ensures patient safety and sensibly fits into the care model utilized by anesthesia care teams. OSMA and the Ohio Society of Anesthesiologists (OSA) together have taken a neutral position on the latest version of this legislation, as it maintains the current team-based care model and supervisory relationship between CRNAs and physicians. We believe the bill has appropriate safety guardrails that alleviate previous patient safety concerns and do not dismantle the physician-led, team-based model of care. The physician remains at the head of the care team, overseeing critical patient treatment decisions.
Medical Price Transparency
OSMA expects the Ohio legislature will continue to deliberate over price transparency, which would allow Ohio patients to anticipate costs and make more informed decisions about their care. We are supporting legislation on hospital-based price transparency for scheduled health care services, which has passed in the Senate and must now proceed through the House.
Tanning Ban for Minors
OSMA is joining the Ohio Dermatological Association in support of a measure that would prohibit individuals under age 18 from using tanning beds. If enacted, HB 329 would protect the youth in our state from exposure to dangerous ultraviolet radiation that drastically increases the chance of developing skin cancer, particularly when exposure occurs before adulthood.