Ohio Legislative Update
Unfortunately, this year’s OOS annual legislative day was canceled due to COVID-19. Below is a list of legislative initiatives in the healthcare arena being considered before the Ohio General Assembly. The OOS worked with a coalition led by the OSMA to pass medical liability legislation protecting doctors during the pandemic. The bill listed below is the most comprehensive passed by any state this year.
Legislative Highlights Include:
- Medical Liability HB 606: This bill generally grants a person providing services for “essential businesses and operations” civil immunity for injury, death, or loss to person or property caused by the transmission of COVID-19 during the period of emergency declared by the Governor’s Executive Order 2020-01D (issued on March 9).The immunity does not apply if the person providing services for essential businesses and operations acts manifestly outside the person’s scope of responsibilities, with malicious purpose, in bad faith, or in a wanton or reckless manner.
“Essential businesses and operations” is defined as stated in the Director of Health’s Order that “All Persons Stay at Home Unless Engaged in Essential Work or Activity” issued on March 22, 2020. HB 606 does not eliminate, limit, or reduce any civil immunity conferred upon a person who provides services for essential businesses and operations by any other Revised Code provision or by case law. (Signed into law by Gov. DeWine on 9/14/2020)
- Second Chance Trust Fund HB 125: Requires the Registrar of Motor Vehicles and each deputy registrar to ask a person renewing a motor vehicle registration for a $1 voluntary contribution to support organ donation programs (in addition to asking those applying for a driver’s license, commercial driver’s license, or identification card as in current law). Also would institute the collected contributions to be deposited into the Second Chance Trust Fund, which the Director of Health uses for programs related to organ, tissue, and eye donation. The OOS has worked with a coalition to ensure this bill doesn’t impact the current Save Our Sight Fund and have made modifications to the bill to do so.
- Out of Networking Billing HB 388: This legislation resembles previous language which was deliberated upon during the state budget process earlier this year, and eventually vetoed by the governor. HB 388, like SB 198 (which the OSMA has taken a positon of Support on), sets up the IDR arbitration process for providers and insurers to settle payment disputes. However, there are several key differences in the specific execution of this IDR process.
- Under the bill, the plan must reimburse the greatest of the following three amounts:
- The median amount the health plan issuer negotiated with in-network providers or facilities for the service in question;
- The rate the health plan issuer pays for out-of-network services under the health benefit plan; or,
- The rate paid by Medicare for the service in question.
- Scope of Practice HB 177: This is a reintroduced piece of legislation, known last general assembly as HB 726. This legislation would modify current Ohio law regarding the scope of practice of advanced practice registered nurses, physician prescribing of schedule II controlled substances from convenience care clinics, and clearances by licensed health care professionals of concussed student athletes. At the current time, we don’t anticipate this bill passing this year.
- Telemedicine HB 679: Specified health care practitioners would be permitted to provide telehealth services to a patient participating in the Medicaid program and that specified providers would be eligible to submit claims to the Ohio Department of Medicaid for payment for telehealth services rendered. Additionally, community mental health service providers and community addiction service providers certified by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) would be permitted to provide services through telehealth.
- During a declared disaster, epidemic, pandemic, public health emergency, or public safety emergency, long-term care facilities would be required to provide residents and their families with video-conference visitation options. Additionally, an individual with a developmental disability or other permanent disability would be permitted to have a parent or guardian present during a health care procedure, test, or other care visit during these circumstances.
- A health benefit plan would be prohibited from imposing cost sharing for telehealth services that exceeds the cost sharing for comparable in-person services and prohibits cost sharing for communications that meet specified criteria.
- A health benefit plan would be required to reimburse a health care professional for a covered telehealth service, but the bill does not require the reimbursement to be a specific amount. This bill would permit a health care professional to negotiate with a health plan issuer to establish a reimbursement rate for fees associated with the administrative costs of providing telehealth services.