Recent COHCA Articles


2nd Ohio Pharmacy Advocacy Forum

Ohio College of Clinical Pharmacy, Ohio Colleges of Pharmacy
and Council for Ohio Health Care Advocacy
In colla…
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Zika virus disease (Zika) is a disease caused by Zika virus that is spread to people primarily through …
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Proposed Bill Would Require Payment …

Proposed Bill Would Require Payment Disclosures to Advanced Practice Nurses and Physician Assistants

A proposed bi…
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Interprofessional Legislative Update

HPU-LogoBy Lori Herf, MA

The Ohio General Assembly has dedicated much of the winter and spring months to budget (HB 59) deliberations. With the new state fiscal year beginning on July 1st, 2013, legislative leaders will focus most of their attention not only on the fiscal operations of the state of Ohio, but also on the many policy changes made as amendments to state budget provisions.

APRNs and Physician Assistants

Language was considered that would have allowed advanced practice nurses and physician assistants to admit patients to hospitals. That provision is now being considered independently of the budget as HB 139.


A number of pharmacy provisions remain part of the budget as well. One of the provisions would require that Medicaid managed care organiza-tions provide 90 days notice to pharmacies being terminated as a network provider and extends the notice to all types of health care providers. In the case of pharmacies, similarly the budget would require that 90 days advance notice be given regarding the removal of a prescribed drug from the formulary or preferred drug list used by the organization or administrator or any change in the terms governing access to the drug. The amendment that we are opposing in the budget which is HB 59 dealt with remote dispensing.

The amendment would have allowed a pharmacy that is licensed as a terminal distributor of dangerous drugs to use a remote drug dispensing system at a nursing home or residential care facility. The pharmacist would not be required to be physically present where the system is used to dispense the drugs. COHCA has strong concerns regarding this provision and asked legislators to remove the language from the budget bill. The Ohio Senate did remove the language from the substitute version of the bill; however the bill will be amended next week and then be considered by a conference committee that could reinsert the language into the final version of the bill.

Other Bills:

House Bill 44

To require the Director of Health to develop protocols regarding the authority to administer, deliver, distribute, or dispense drugs during certain public health emergencies. This is currently pending in

House Health and Aging Committee where it has received two hearings.

Requires the Director of Health to develop one or more protocols that authorize certain licensed health professionals to administer, deliver, or distribute drugs during a public health emergency; requires the Director to develop protocols as well that authorize pharmacists and pharmacy interns to dispense limited quantities of dangerous drugs without a prescription or record of a prescription during a public health emergency; and provides that an individual who administers, delivers, distributes or dispenses a drug or dangerous drug in accordance with one or more of those protocols is not liable for, nor subject to civil damages, criminal prosecution, or professional disciplinary action, unless the individual’s acts of omissions constitute willful, wanton misconduct.

House Bill 60

To require that rules governing maternity units, newborn care nurseries, and maternity homes include certain provisions pertaining to the authority to make decisions regarding the transfer of patients to other facilities and to specify procedures for granting variances or waivers of any requirement in the rules governing operation of such facilities.

Currently pending in House Health and Aging where it has received two hearings.

The bill codifies an administrative rule that authorizes the Director of Health to grant a variance from or waiver of any of the requirements of rules regarding the operation of a maternity unit, newborn care nursery, or maternity home; requires the Director to adopt rules regarding application forms to be used and procedures to be followed in applying for a variance or waiver; requires the Director to review all applications for variances and waivers and, not later than 90 days after receipt of an application, to determine whether to grant the variance or waiver and notify the applicant of the decision.

House Bill 83

To make 14 major changes to the law that gov-erns the practice of psychology. Heard in the House Health and Aging Committee; reported out of committee; passed the House 96-1; currently pending in the Senate Medicaid, Health and Hu-man Services Committee.

House Bill 94

To require a health insuring corporation, public employee benefit plan, or sickness and accident insurer to reimburse a board of health for any services provided to an individual by the board that is covered by a plan issued to the individual by the health insuring corporation, public employee benefit plan, or sickness and accident insurer upon request submitted by the Board of Health.

Currently pending in House Insurance Committee; has received two hearings.

House Bill 123

TELEHEALTH SERVICES (Gonzales, Wachtmann)
Regarding Medicaid and health insurance coverage of telehealth services.

Currently pending in House Health and Aging Committee where it has received two hearings.

The bill authorizes health care insurers to provide coverage of telehealth services provided by health care professionals and facilities, requires the Office of Medical Assistance to adopt rules establishing standards for Medicaid reimbursement of telehealth services provided by health care professionals and facilities; specifies that coverage of a telehealth service applies only if the service involves an immediate and direct interaction with a patient, is medically appropriate and necessary, and is provided by a licensed health care provider or facility; and requires that a health care provider seeking reimbursement for telehealth service maintain documentation of providing the service as part of the patient records the provider maintains.

House Bill 131

TANNING REGULATIONS (Johnson, Stinziano)
To regulate chemical tanning and prohibit tanning facilities from allowing the use of sun lamps by certain individuals under 18 years of age.

Currently pending in House Health and Aging Committee where it has received three hearings.

Prohibits an operator or employee of a tanning facility from allowing an individual under age 18 to use the facility’s fluorescent sun lamp tanning services unless the individual presents a prescription issued by a physician; and requires the State Board of Cosmetology to regulate chemical tanning facilities.

House Bill 139

To permit certain advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants to admit patients to hospitals.

Currently pending in House Health and Aging Committee where it has received two hearings.

Current law allows only physicians, dentists and podiatrists who are members of the medical staff to admit patients to hospitals. The bill would add clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives and certified nurse practitioners who have a standard care arrangement with a physician or podiatrist who is a member of the medical staff. The bill would also allow physician’s assistants, under the supervision, control or direction of a physician or podiatrist who is a member of the medical staff, to admit patients to hospitals. The bill also would require the APRN or PA to notify the collaborating or supervising physician or podiatrist not later than 12 hours after admitting a patient to a hospital.

House Bill 147

To require a surgeon performing a mastectomy, lymph node dissection, or lumpectomy in a hospital to guide the patient and provide referrals in accordance with the standards of the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers and to name this act the Lizzie B. Byrd Act.”

Currently pending in the House Health and Aging Committee where it has had two hearings.

The bill, in addition to the above would require the sur-geon performing a mastectomy or lumpectomy to refer a patient if breast reconstruction is appropriate, and requires the surgeon to offer the patient a preoperative referral to a reconstructive or plastic surgeon in accordance with NAPBC standards.

House Bill 159

DENTAL SERVICES (Hacket, Schuring)
To prohibit a health insurer from establishing a fee schedule for dental providers for services that are not covered by any contract or participating provider agreement between the health insurer and the dental provider.

Currently the bill is pending in the House Insurance Committee where it has had one hearing.

Prohibits a contracting entity from requiring a dental provider to provide services to plan enrollees at a fee set by or subject to approval by the contracting entity unless certain circumstances are met; makes setting or requiring the insurer’s approval of fees for dental services an unfair and deceptive act in the business of insurance unless certain circumstances are met; and makes the offering of a health benefit plan that sets fees for dental services an unfair and deceptive act in the business of insurance unless certain circumstances apply.

House Bill 165

Exempts certified hyperbaric technologists from the laws governing the practice of respiratory care.

Currently pending in the House Health and Aging Committee. Has not been heard.

House Bill 170

DRUG OVERDOSES (Johnson, Stinziano)
To provide that a licensed health professional authorized to prescribe naloxone, if acting with reasonable care, may prescribe, administer, dispense or furnish naloxone to a person who is, or a person who is in a position to assist a person who is, apparently experiencing or who is likely to experience an opioid-related overdose without being subject to administrative action or criminal prosecution, to provide that a person who is in a position to assist a person who is apparently experiencing or who is likely to experience an opiod-related overdose is not subject to actions of professional licensing boards, administrative action, or criminal prosecution for a drug offense or practicing medicine without a license if the person acting in good faith, obtains naloxone prescription from a licensed health professional and administers it to a person for an opioid-related overdose, and to provide that peace officers and licensed emergency responders who are acting in good faith are not subject to administrative action or criminal prosecution for a drug offense or practicing medicine without a license for administering naloxone to a person who is apparently experiencing an opioid-related overdose.

Currently pending in the House Health and Aging Committee. It has not yet been heard by the committee.

Senate Bill 4

NEWBORN SCREENINGS (Manning, Oelslager)
To require a pulse oximetry screening for each newborn born in a hospital or freestanding birthing center.

Received two hearings in Senate Medicaid, Health and Human Services Committee, reported out of Committee; passed the Senate 33-0; referred to House Health and Aging Committee where it has received 5 hearings.

Requires hospitals and freestanding birthing centers to conduct a pulse oximetry screening on each newborn (unless a parent objects on religious grounds) for purposes of detecting critical congenital health defects; requires the Director of Health to adopt rules establishing standards and procedures for the pulse oximetry screenings.

Senate Bill 43

Makes a number of changes to the laws governing the civil commitment of and treatment provided to mentally ill persons.

Currently pending in Senate Criminal Justice Committee. It has received one hearing.

Senate Bill 99

CANCER MEDICATIONS (Oelslager, Tavares)
Regarding insurance coverage for rarely administered cancer medications.

Pending in Senate Insurance and Financial Institutions Committee where it has not received a hearing.

Neurosurgery Physician Assistant at Akron Children’s

Combines the Best of Care and Cure

Holly Zeller, PA-C sits down with Julie Tsirambidis, CNP to go over privilege delineation forms at Akron Children’s Hospital.  This is one of their many overlapping moments where NP and PA practice comes together.  Becoming more frequent is this visibility- that NPs and PAs sit side by side with their physician counterparts to enhance patient care.  After years of working in silos, these disciplines agree the time to work together is long overdue.  Hence, the Center for Advanced Practice at Akron Children’s Hospital was formed in April 2011.  The goals are vast, but include the practice and regulatory oversight of APNs and PAs, on boarding programs, and integration with medical staff leadership to name but a few.

Zeller, who is a board certified physician assistant, works in partnership with Dr. Roger Hudgins, director of the Division of Neurosurgery at Children’s Hospital.  When she is not examining patients during office hours, Holly assists Hudgins in the operating room and shares on-call duties with him for after-hours emergencies.  Additionally, on a daily basis, Zeller rounds on all inpatients, formulates plans of care, interprets imaging, triages new patient referrals, and completes various types of different procedures in the NICU, PICU, patient floors and ER.  At the end of each day, all “Mommy Call” questions which have accumulated throughout the day are addressed by calling the parent of the patient back to address their questions. “Every day is a little bit different,” she says.  Zeller, 44, of Richfield,Ohio, is one of now 18 physician assistants (PAs) who work all across Akron Children’s Hospital.  There are over 150 advanced practice providers at Akron Children’s with a director leading the way.  The center actually oversees and brings together Advanced Practice Nurses (CRNA, CNP, and CNS) and Physician Assistants under one umbrella.  The director, Julie Tsirambidis, CNP, truly believes this is the way of the future.  “We have more in common that we have separate.  Coming together to promote our professional needs, despite our regulatory difference truly sets us apart, and brings improved understanding to our patients, families, and hospital staff.”  “Many years ago, MDs and DOs, would not even work together in the same hospital, and see how far they have come- this journey is a similar beginning, in my opinion.” Tsirambidis said.

As part of their master’s degree program, PAs can elect a surgical track that prepares them to work in the operating room.   After college, Zeller worked in the pharmaceutical field before taking a break to stay home with her children.  When she decided to return to work, she wanted a job in the medical field but didn’t want to travel anymore.  She embarked upon graduate school education and completed the PA program.  The PA education is very similar to that of the medical school model.

Zeller initially practiced with the congenital heart surgical team at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital inClevelandbefore joining Akron.  When Dr. Hudgins joined Children’s two years ago, he requested a PA for his team.  He has especially relied on Zeller to share the patient load since the death this summer of the hospital’s only other neurosurgeon, Dr. Henry Bartkowski.  When Dr. Bartkowski became ill, Dr. Hudgins and Zeller formulated a plan to continue the quality care provided to the neurosurgery patients, by trying to split the evening and weekend call, thus allowing the other some “off time.” The two divide and conquer on office days, with each visiting patients and talking with families.  They frequently huddle to compare notes and examine patients’ images and other test results.  Zeller will assist in the OR on surgery days, and often performs the closing procedures.  This teamwork allows Hudgins to dictate this post-operative notes and get ready for the next patient while Zeller finishes the procedures.  “It really becomes a seamless way for getting a lot more work done than you could by yourself, plus the families love her,” Hudgins said

For information, or to join our neurosurgery team, check us out at

COHCA On Facebook

Nurses and Doctors Convened to Discuss Scope of Practice

Politico, a political journalism organization, recently convened a working group of high-level voices to look at changes in scope of practice. The discussion focused on the roles of physician assistants (PAs) and nurses, particularly nurse practitioners, and barriers to access and opportunities for practitioners. Participants included doctors, nurses, PAs and researchers. Karen Scipio-Skinner, executive director of the District of Columbia Board of Nursing, participated in the discussions. Participants helped identify trends and policy options around scope of practice, and detected changes unfolding as a result of new health care delivery models.

A Politico article summarizes the responses to the discussion questions, including:

What is behind the push to change scope of practice?
Who decides scope of practice?
Should states remove barriers to scope of practice?
Should psychologists be allowed to prescribe?
Should federal government reimbursement cover more practitioners?

The article also summarizes the policy proposals which demonstrated a consensus among the discussion participants.

Study Finds that Scope of Practice Restrictions and Physician Supervision do not Increase Patient Safety
According to the first study to focus on the effects of state scope of practice laws and anesthesia delivery models on patient safety, scope of practice restrictions and physician supervision requirements for nurse anesthetists have no impact on anesthesia patient safety. To test whether the odds of an anesthesia complication vary by scope of practice model (certified registered nurse anesthetist [CRNA] only, anesthesiologist-only or a team of both), researchers examined a database of 5.7 million anesthesia-specific procedures from 2011-2012.

Researchers found that there was no statistically significant difference in the risk of anesthesia complications based on the degree of restrictions placed on CRNAs by state scope of practice laws. Additionally, there was no evidence that the risk of complications varies by delivery model. Researchers did find strong evidence of differences in anesthesia complications by patient characteristics, patient comorbidity and the procedures for which anesthesia was administered.

Based on these findings, researchers conclude that, while state scope of practice restrictions and physician supervision do not increase anesthesia safety, unnecessary restrictions can reduce patient access to quality care, particularly in underserved areas, and increase the cost of providing care.
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11 hours ago  ·  

Regulatory Boards to require all prescribers to complete online training

Regulatory boards announced todat the distribution of a new online training initiative on behalf of the Governor’s Cabinet Opiate Action Team (GCOAT). Beginning as soon as today, the GCOAT has directed that a message be sent to Ohio’s authorized prescribers to inform them that before the end of June, they will receive an email from GCOAT asking them to complete an online training module regarding the new Acute Pain Opioid Prescribing Guidelines. The 10 minute training video will be accompanied by brief introductory and conclusion quizzes to help gauge the effectiveness of the training video and will not be used for any other purpose.

Check your inboxes!!
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4 days ago  ·  

Bill Aimed At Speeding Up Medical Prior Authorization Process Signed Into Law

A bill designed to streamline the medical prior authorization process, cutting the amount of time patients have to wait for approval from insurers, received Gov. John Kasich’s signature Monday.

Supporters praised the measure (SB 129 ) as a bill that will make it easier and quicker for patients to receive approval for treatments they need.

“It’s overall a more modern, better, comprehensive prior authorization process,” Sen. Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green) said in an interview. “The bottom line is it’s better for patients.”

Sen. Gardner sponsored the bill alongside Sen. Capri Cafaro (D-Hubbard).

The bill sets out a timeline for a response from insurers on requests from medical providers for cases that require the payer’s prior authorization. For urgent requests, insurers would have to respond within 48 hours, and for more routine requests, it would be 10 calendar days.

The legislation also requires a new, web-based system for communicating the requests, which proponents said would make the requests more accurate and efficient.

“The first thing to think about is that we are moving away from the current phone call and fax system to an electronic web-based system that will be faster and more accurate, will be much better in terms of communication and medical providers,” Sen. Gardner said. “It’s kind of a new era in Ohio of a comprehensive, better prior authorization system that has the ultimate ability to reduce costs.”

The new requirements also ban insurers from retroactively denying payment for a treatment that was previously approved.

Insurers voiced concerns that the bill would increase costs.

Miranda Motter, president of the Ohio Association of Health Plans, said there is still uncertainty about how the bill will affect insurers and providers financially. Implementing the new system could drive higher costs, she said.

“As we move forward as plans, and providers will have to work forward toward implementation of the provisions of this bill as well, that’s the place that we’ve got concerns about,” she said in an interview. “I think that there are real question marks on the upward costs.”

Ms. Motter said OAHP suggested the turnaround periods be 72 hours for urgent requests and 15 days for non-urgent requests, as recommended by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Too short of a turnaround window could lead to more denials, as providers and plans aren’t able to collect the information needed to consider the request.

The shorter windows could also lead to increased costs, she said.

“When you’ve got shorter time periods, there’s also a potential increase for having the necessary staffing available to deal with those requests in that short of a time period,” she said.

While expressing some concerns about aspects of the bill, Ms. Motter praised the process led by the bill’s sponsors and Rep. Barbara Sears (R-Maumee), chair of the House Insurance Committee.

“This is the most comprehensive prior authorization bill that we’re aware of that’s passed in any other state, and as a result of that, because of the multiple provisions and how they really overlap and relate and interplay with each other, that was another thing that made the issues really challenging,” she said.

Sen. Gardner said he believed the digital communications system would save money for everyone involved, including insurers.

“The argument that this might increase costs for insurance companies I think is unfounded because you’re going to reduce a lot of staff time because of this electronic web-based system,” he said.

Tim Maglione, senior director of government relations for the Ohio State Medical Association, said the bill was one of the group’s top legislative priorities because the current prior authorization system is a drain on resources for physicians.

“We’re finding doctors are spending a lot more time on paperwork and administrative things that insurance companies are imposing on them,” he said in an interview. “If there’s a way that we can reduce the hassle factor, that’s going to always be a top priority for us.”

Mr. Maglione said the new law will translate into more effective and timely medical care, and will cut costs and improve workplace efficiency along the way.

“We will have a new process for prior authorization that’s more transparent, so we’re going to know the rules,” he said. “It’s more efficient, so we’re going to get more timely answers. At the end of the day it’s fair, so when they get an approval from the insurance company, (the company) can’t go back and change their minds.”
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1 week ago  ·  

Two important health bills see action prior to legislative break

House Bill 116, sponsored by State Representatives Tim Brown and Tim Ginter pertaining to medication synchronization and HB 216, sponsored by State Representative Dorothy Pelanda, known as the APN full practice authority legislation, received votes in the final week before summer break at the statehouse.

HB 116 passed and was signed by Governor Kasich to expand patient access to pharmacist provided medication synchronization assistance. The bill will become effective on January 1, 2017 and allow patients with prescirptions for chronic diseases or conditions including but not limited to heart disease, cholesterol, COPD, high blood pressure to, along with their physician and pharmacist, synchronize their medications so that all may be refilled on the same day. The goal of the legislation is to improve patient adherence to medications by having all of the patient’s prescriptions ready for pick-up on the same date each month by reducing delayed or missed refills.

HB 116 will require commerical health plans and Medicaid to offer coverage of medication synchronization services to patients, while also providing for coverage of partial drug refills wtih pro-rated copays. The gill provides full dispensing fees for pharmacies, in order to allow the pharmacist to receive the customary dispensing fee for filling a partial prescription.

HB 216 passed the Ohio House of Representatives last week as well. Referred to as the Full Practice Authority-Modernization bill, Advanced Practice Registered Nurses are working on their ninth draft of the legislation. Though provisions to eliminate the need to collaborate with a physician and to eliminate the Standard Care Agreement were removed from the bill prior to house passage, the bill does contain other provisions including the creation of an exclusionary formulary, removal of the externship for prescribing and restrictions on providing sample medications, and an increase in the physician to APRN prescribing ratio from 3:1 to 5:1. The bill permits use of the term APRN by all four APRN certifications, including Certified Nurse Midwives, Certified Nurse Practitioners, Clinical Nurse Specialists and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists. Practice provisions related to Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists were also removed from the bill prior to passage.

Though HB 216 passed out of the house, prior to becoming law the bill must make its way through the committee process and be passed by the entire Ohio Senate when legislators return in November.
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3 weeks ago  ·  


Health Care Professions…


COHCA – Partnering

in Patient Care

COHCA, a interprofessional group, are partners in patient care: better care, lower costs, a partnership that will help improve the quality, safety, and affordability of health care for all Ohioans. Nationally, healthcare initiatives are fostering partnerships in patient care.


COHCA Health Policy Update!!  Senate Bill 83  APN Schedule II - Read More…

COHCA’S FIRST SUSTAINING ORGANIZATIONAL SPONSOR - Cleveland Clinic's Zielony Nursing Institute

COHCA Health Policy Update!!  Senate Bill 83  APN Schedule II - Read More…


COHCA Health Policy Update!!  Senate Bill 83  APN Schedule II - Read More…

COHCA’S FIRST PLATINUM ORGANIZATIONAL SPONSOR - The Southern Ohio Chapter of the American College of Nurse-Midwives 

COHCA Health Policy Update!!  Senate Bill 83  APN Schedule II - Read More…

COHCA PLATINUM ORGANIZATIONAL SPONSOR - Ohio Chapter of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP)


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