Healthcare Remains a Top Issue for the Ohio General Assembly

Each election year voters are asked to rank the issues they are most focused on when deciding who they will vote for. Concerns for healthcare cost continues to be a topic of concern for voters, so it’s no surprise that some of the biggest debates happening in state government in 2020 surround the topic of healthcare access and cost.

One of the biggest issues in the state currently being discussed is the Ohio Department of Medicaid’s procurement of the state’s Medicaid managed care contracts. The department recently released is latest RFI in the procurement process

responses due back to the department by March 3, 2020. The recent RFI is the second request for information from the department has released to help shape the final Request for Proposals or RFP to the managed care industry. The DeWine administration has stressed that they want a more Medicaid client focused program, which eases the burden

Managed Care isn’t the only big healthcare issue the state is debating. The Ohio Department of Medicaid is also in the process of procuring a single Pharmacy Benefit Manager, or PBMs, for the state’s Medicaid program. House Bill 166, the state operating budget, mandated the department to procure a single PBM. Earlier this year the department released and RFI for new single PBM contract. Prescription drug cost has been a topic of debate in the Ohio legislature over the past couple of years and required the DeWine administration to take additional actions around controlling prescription drug prices in the Medicaid program.

There are a number of pieces of legislation pending in the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate, dealing with hospital price transparency, House Bill 224, expanded scope of practice for healthcare providers, which allows nurse anesthetists to order drugs and direct other providers to administer the medications in certain instances. The legislation does not give CRNA’s the authority to write outpatient prescriptions, House Bill 144, which would prohibit a hospital from requiring a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse to work overtime as a condition of continued employment, and numerous pieces of legislation dealing with drug pricing and costs. Additionally, potential legislation dealing with expanded authority for the Ohio Department of Health for regulating hospitals is likely something to watch for as the year progresses. All of these issues will continue to be topics of debate and interest throughout the remainder of 2020 and into next year’s state operating budget.