Recent COHCA Articles

Issue 2

Issue 2 – Why This is Not a Good Proposition for Ohio
Issue 2  is slated for a vote on the November 2017 ballot. …
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Important Dues Process Update

At our most recent board meeting in Columbus, there was a discussion regarding… |read more|…
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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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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

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Groups Urge Passage Of Pharmacy Benefit Manager Regulation Bill

Pharmacist groups and patients urged a House panel Tuesday to pass legislation placing limits on clawback provisions and “gag orders” by pharmacy benefit managers.

The proposal (HB 479 ) would put in law some elements of new regulations imposed on PBMs last week by the Department of Insurance. (See Gongwer Ohio Report, April 4, 2018)

Groups told the House Government Accountability & Oversight Committee that placing limits on certain contract provisions in code, rather than relying on administrative regulations, would ensure the behavior is kept in check.

Antonio Ciaccia, director of government and public affairs for the Ohio Pharmacists Association, said the legislation would address the issue of clawbacks by pharmacy benefit managers that can lead to patients paying more than the cash price of a drug and pharmacists losing money on some transactions.

“While this issue is first and foremost a consumer transparency issue, we also have concerns with some of the possible legal ramifications of these practices,” he said. “There are now more than a dozen lawsuits nationally that are aimed at these practices, and unfortunately, we have now seen pharmacies dragged into those lawsuits for their involvement. This is the unfortunate reality of largely non-negotiable contracts that pharmacies must enter into with PBMs in order to get access to their patients.”

Mr. Ciaccia praised new regulations by the Department of Insurance to prohibit so-called “gag orders” on pharmacies and co-pays above the retail price of the drug but said lawmakers should make those changes permanent.

“PBM co-pay clawbacks are confusing at best, and deceptive at worst,” he said. “Pharmacists should not be silent pawns in drug pricing shell games and should be free to discuss all options for the patient at the pharmacy counter – including whether or not there are ways to save money on their needed medications.”

Bob Fowler, a North Ridgeville resident and cancer patient, said such business practices by pharmacy benefit managers have driven up the cost of his medications.

“This bill would protect my right to have an honest, open conversation with my pharmacist. It would protect cancer patients like myself from secretive cost sharing plans,” he said. “And it will ensure that pharmacies are able to stock my medications without fear of punishment from nationwide PBMs.”

Heather Free, director of pharmacy services at Equitas Health, said the legislation would protect consumers from harmful practices that would require patients to pay more than they should for drugs.

“These protections are incredibly important, and I applaud ODI’s leadership on this matter,” she said. “However, passing House Bill 479 is still necessary in order to ensure that PBMs cannot engage in the harmful ‘clawback’ practice.”

John Covello, director of government relations for the Independent Pharmacy Cooperative, a national trade group representing independent pharmacy owners, said in written testimony that the state needs to place regulations on pharmacy benefit managers in law, rather than relying on agency regulations.

“IPC applauds Ohio’s regulatory steps to put an end to these PBM practices that add to prescription costs and interfere with the pharmacy’s ability to communicate fully with their patients about all aspects of their prescriptions, but legislation is the only permanent patient protection the Ohio Legislature can take to ensure patients not only have a ‘right to know’ about the real costs of prescriptions, but to allow pharmacies the legal right to best counsel their patients,” he said. See MoreSee Less

1 week ago  ·  

Many relevant bills pending in the Ohio General Assembly right now

HB 72
STEP THERAPY (Johnson, T., Antonio, N.)
To adopt requirements related to step therapy protocols implemented by health plan issuers and the Department of Medicaid.
Committee Hearing in House Health

HB 131
PHYSICAL THERAPY (Gavarone, T., Reineke, B.)
To modify the laws governing the practice of physical therapy.
Committee Hearing in House Health

HB 231
To require pharmacists to offer to dispense controlled substances in lockable or tamper-evident containers.
Committee Hearing in House Health

HB 326
To authorize certain psychologists to prescribe psychotropic and other drugs for the treatment of drug addiction and mental illness.
Committee Hearing in House Health

HB 456
To prohibit a hospital from requiring a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse to work overtime as a condition of continued employment.
Committee Hearing in House Health

HB 4
STROKE PATIENTS (Lipps, S., Antonio, N.)
To provide for recognition of stroke centers and establishment of protocols for assessment, treatment, and transport to hospitals of stroke patients.
Committee Hearing in House Health

HB 557
ART THERAPY (Anielski, M.)
To require the licensure of art therapists and to require the State Medical Board to regulate the licensure and practice of art therapists.
Committee Hearing in House Health See MoreSee Less

1 month ago  ·  

Posted on March 5, 2018

Records: Drug distributors push back on proposed Ohio rules

News, State Wire
By Andrew Welsh-Huggins – Associated Press

In this Nov. 2, 2017, photo, Cameron McNamee, Ohio Board of Pharmacy director of policy and communications, discusses a new ad campaign targeting the state’s deadly opioid epidemic. In a March 1, 2018 interview in Columbus, Ohio, McNamee said the state is weighing concerns by drug wholesalers about proposed new regulations. (AP Photo/Andrew Welsh-Huggins)
COLUMBUS (AP) — Companies that distribute drugs are pushing back on stricter regulation in Ohio, protesting what they call a patchwork approach that could lead to confusion and uncertainty, records show.

The state pharmacy board should wait for new federal regulations before enacting state rules, including some that could violate federal law, the companies say in documents obtained by The Associated Press through a records request.

“A ‘patchwork’ system of differing regulations between and among states and the federal government will only lead to more problems,” Gary Cacciatore, vice president of regulatory affairs for Ohio-based Cardinal Health, said in a Feb. 23 letter to the board.

The Food and Drug Administration is planning new rules for drug wholesalers later this summer, while the Drug Enforcement Administration is working on its own regulation for dealing with suspicious drug orders.

Better to wait for those proposals than enact state-specific rules now, said Patrick Kelly, government affairs vice president for Healthcare Distribution Alliance.

For companies, “Undertaking such activities repeatedly, and over a short period, could create confusion and inconsistency, potentially undermining the very security that the federal and state requirements aim to enhance and maintain,” Kelly told the pharmacy board.

The Independent Pharmacy Cooperative took issue with several aspects of Ohio’s proposed regulations for handling suspicious orders, including a requirement that companies submit paperwork when no suspicious orders are detected.

Such paperwork “places an undue and onerous burden on dangerous drug distributors,” said John Convello, the IPC government relations director.

Grocery store chain Kroger, drugmaker Pfizer and drug distributor AmerisourceBergen were among other companies raising similar objections, according to the records reviewed by the AP.

Republican Gov. John Kasich announced the proposals on Feb. 1 as part of efforts to slow the opioid epidemic that kills more than 11 Ohioans a day.

Among the requirements: wholesalers that distribute prescription drugs to pharmacies, doctors and hospitals would have to report more information about suspicious orders to Ohio regulators.

The state also wants drug distributors to do a better job researching their customers and to hold onto suspicious orders until questions are answered about the drugs’ destination.

Companies that do not comply could have their drug distribution license for Ohio revoked. Red flags could be large orders of controlled substances like pain pills or cash-only orders.

Companies will have at least three more opportunities for input as the rules make their way through Ohio’s regulatory process, said Cameron McNamee, the pharmacy board’s communications and policy director.

The board is aware of the companies’ concerns and will weigh them carefully, he said. But McNamee also notes federal action could take years.

“If we always took a wait-and-see approach to what happened at the federal level, we probably wouldn’t get anything done,” McNamee said.

The board has made reducing painkiller prescriptions a priority, and on Monday announced a fifth consecutive year of declining prescriptions.

Data released by the pharmacy board show 568 million painkiller pills were dispensed to patients last year, down 20 percent from a high of 793 million in 2012.

The data also show a continuing decrease in the number of patients going from doctor to doctor in search of drugs thanks to the pharmacy board’s computerized reporting system, with an 88 percent drop since 2012.

An expanded use of that system has increased the number of checks on patients from about 66,000 a day in 2015 to almost 445,000 a day at the end of last year. See MoreSee Less

1 month 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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