The 132nd General Assembly will conclude at the end of this calendar year which means Ohio’s elected leaders are officially in lame duck season – the few remaining weeks when legislation introduced over the two year period must be voted on or declared useless due to lack of attention. The Ohio Ophthalmological Society (OOS) is focused on the development of three bills in particular.
HB 191 would expand the scope of practice for CRNAs, allowing them to provide anesthesia without supervision of a physician. The bill received a hearing on November 14 which drew heavy opposition testimony from physicians representing various specialties including ophthalmology. Robert Derick, MD, of Columbus Ophthalmology Associates testified on behalf of ophthalmology.
HB 450 would add significant barriers to imposing additional policy and advocacy measures against health insurance companies operating in Ohio. The OOS joined other medical specialties in opposing this measure because it is not in the best interest of patient safety and quality healthcare. We maintain that every proposal related to healthcare and patient care should continue to be fully vetted through the present legislative process.
An Ohio bill that could threaten funding for the OOS' Play Hard Don't Blink (PHDB) program and other youth eye safety initiatives is drawing attention from legislators during the lame duck session.
The PHDB program is funded through the Ohio Department of Health's Save Out Sight (SOS) fund. That fund is supported through $1 donations from Ohio motorists who elect to contribute when registering their vehicles.
House Bill 476, introduced by Springfield Republican state Rep. Kyle Koehler, would add the Second Chance Trust Fund as a donation option at the time of vehicle registration. Second Chance, which funds organ and tissue donation education programs, is already well funded by diver's who can elect to contribute when renewing their driver's license.
HB 476 received a hearing in House committee on Nov. 28. The Ohio Eye Coalition, which includes the OOS, lobbied lawmakers to drop the bill. The OOS separately has made opposition to HB 476 clear to Koehler and the House Speaker, as well as the House committee chairman and vice chairman.
After yesterday's hearing we believe the bill will not receive any more hearings or pass out of committee but we will continue to monitor the situation.