With November election over, the Ohio Legislature is in its "Lame Duck" session. This term is used to describe the period when there are legislators who did not run for re-election or were defeated, but these legislators are still in office until the end of year.
This political situation is accentuated by the end of the two-year General Assembly where any legislation that is not passed by both houses of the General Assembly by the end of the year will be thrown out and all proposed legislation must start over from scratch in January of 2019 with the newly elected members of the Legislature for the next two-year period of 2019-2020.
UPDATES ON SOME CURRENT ISSUES OF INTEREST
Tort Reform: House Bill 7.
This bill passed the House earlier in 2018 and now we are pushing to have it clear the Senate and go to Governor Kasich for his signature. HB 7 further helps physicians’ malpractice legal environment, and thus lowers insurance premiums, with several changes. Two examples include
Reducing the universal naming in a lawsuit of all providers involved with a patient by requiring of "an affidavit of merit" for each defendant that is named by the plaintiff
Not allowing expressions of sympathy, empathy or apologies for an undesired health outcome to be used against a physician in a malpractice suit
On Thursday, November 29, the bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by a Franklin County Senator, Kevin Bacon. As we now move to getting the bill scheduled on the floor of the Senate, prospects are encouraging for passage and signature by Governor Kasich in December.
Scope of Practice: House Bill 191 and Senate Bill 301.
These companion bills would expand the scope of practice of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists. A number of physician organizations and specialty societies have raised patient care concerns. Central Ohio physicians Drs. Anne Taylor and Robert Derick were among those testifying in opposition.
Limiting Insurance Coverage: House Bill 450. This bill is being promoted by some insurance and business interests as a way to make it more difficult to enact change to Ohio’s health insurance policy requirements for minimum coverages. The House of Medicine coalition of physician and hospital organizations opposes this bill. The attached letter provides detail.
Thanks for Public Policy Co-chairs Drs. Stephanie Costa and Bill Cotton for their leadership on these and many other issues of importance to doctors and our patients.
Coming up on the Public Policy Committee Agenda:
- A CMA sponsored reception to recognize newly elected State Representative Beth Liston, MD
- Small group health policy and relationship building meetings with individual legislators
- Potential health care forums for Central Ohio legislators and physicians
- Potential CMA support for new, best of class techniques for patients to dispose of unused medications