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Spring Legislative Preview


Now that the March 19 primary elections have passed, the Ohio Legislature is expected to return to the Statehouse for a flurry of activity shortly after the upcoming holiday. The Ohio House and Senate will conduct a series of hearings and sessions from mid-April up until the legislators depart back to their districts for the summer recess and to campaign for the general election this fall.

Though these circumstances can be unpredictable, OSMA's advocacy team has several priority issues of focus this spring, and anticipates that these may see some activity in the coming weeks:

Prior Authorization “Gold Card” – HB 130

As a reminder, the prior authorization “gold card” legislation is OSMA’s top legislative priority. It will further streamline the prior authorization process and remove some of the administrative “roadblocks” of prior authorization so that physicians and medical staff can focus more on patient care. OSMA testified in June last year in support of the bill in the House Insurance Committee. 26 additional testimonies in support of HB 130 were submitted in written form from other medical organizations and patient advocacy groups.

OSMA's advocacy team has been working with the sponsor and other interested parties in the months since on a substitute version of the bill and now that this step is complete, OSMA hopes to now move to the next step of getting the legislation in another hearing in the House Insurance Committee in the coming weeks. For more details and how you can get involved, visit OSMA’s Cut the Red Tape – Patient Care Can’t Wait campaign.  

Certified Mental Health Assistants – SB 60

OSMA has been working in-depth in opposition to SB 60, legislation which seeks to create a new type of mental health care provider in Ohio – the certified mental health assistant (CMHA). The medical community has significant concerns with this concept, particularly because the CMHA would be an entirely new allied practitioner designation that does not exist elsewhere in any other state.

The certified mental health assistant would operate under a two-year license and under the direct supervision of a physician. OSMA has testified in opposition to this legislation multiple times in the past year and have also been working with the sponsors and other interested parties regarding specific concerns we have about the training and education of CMHAs. We have managed to prevent this legislation from advancing further in the legislative process thus far, and we expect that more work will occur on this issue in the next several months.

Use of Indoor Tanning by Minors – HB 169/SB 69

Recently, an amendment was added to this legislation in response to significant pushback the sponsors and proponents of these bills have heard, regarding the concept of parental rights. Now, rather than outright banning indoor tanning use for minors, it would require not only parental consent to be given for each time a minor utilizes tanning services, but also for the parent to be present on-site at the time the services are rendered. OSMA hopes that this compromise will give this proposal the boost it needs to move forward, while still highly discouraging use of tanning services for individuals under the age of 18 by establishing these additional hurdles. We will continue to push for this legislation to progress through the Legislature.

As a reminder, OSMA has joined the Ohio Dermatological Association (ODA) to work on this legislation for years with the goal of protecting the youth in our state from exposure to dangerous UV radiation that drastically increases the chance of developing skin cancer. Dr. Shannon Trotter has testified in support of this legislation multiple times this past year on behalf of OSMA and ODA.

Copay Accumulator – HB 177

OSMA continues to support legislation which would require insurers and PBMs to count all payments made by patients directly or on their behalf toward their deductibles and out-of-pocket cost will be reintroduced this year. This is essential to increasing predictability as vulnerable patients face high out-of-pocket costs for their prescriptions. This legislation has passed out of the House Public Health Policy Committee. OSMA hopes to push for further progress for this issue this spring. 

Non-Medical Switching – HB 291

OSMA has partnered with Ohio Association of Rheumatology in support of legislation which would limit the ability of insurers to engage in the practice of non-medical switching. We are advocating for its passage to avoid the disruption of a physician’s ability to exercise their medical expertise and help their patients caused by abrupt and unwarranted treatment changes.

As we reported last month, HB 291 was recently amended. The original bill sought to ban non-medical switching outright, but the new version with the amendment allows for potential changes by the insurer if the cost of a medication increases by 5% or higher in calendar year. Again, OSMA believes this compromise will help this legislation advance, without losing the overall positive impact of the bill. With this amendment, HB 291 would still prevent non-medical switching in the majority of circumstances faced by patients. OSMA will continue to advocate for this legislation when legislators return to Columbus.



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