Recent COHCA Articles


Proposed Bill Would Require Payment …

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

A proposed bi…
Read More


Bill would give Ohio nurses more latitude…

Bill would give Ohio nurses more latitude in treating patients

Request to buy this photoAdam Cairns | Dispatch S…
Read More


Nursing Shortage Not as Dire as Previously…

Nursing Shortage Not as Dire as Previously Predicted

According to a recent study, although a nursing shortage is s…
Read More


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

Happy Birthday, COHCA!

We "went live" four years ago today. Support Ohio’s only interprofessional health care advocacy association and help us celebrate our birthday by renewing your membership today.
See MoreSee Less

3 weeks ago  ·  

A More Personalized Approach to Reducing Infant Mortality in Columbus, Ohio

Facing one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country, Columbus, Ohio, is taking the time to understand its unique causes.

by Mattie Quinn | January 14, 2016

Black babies in Columbus, Ohio, are twice as likely to die before their first birthday. (AP/Darren Hauck)

Health officials in Columbus, Ohio, have long known that they’re facing a health crisis. Ohio has the fourth-highest infant mortality rate in the country. In Franklin County, which includes Columbus, 150 infants a year — almost three a week — die before reaching their first birthdays.

As officials studied the issue more, they realized the best way to fix it is to understand and address the unique problems leading to infant mortality in each individual neighborhood.

Parts of the city are thriving, but there’s a racial disparity in Columbus — as in many other cities — when it comes to infant mortalities. The infants that die before their first birthday in Columbus are twice as likely to be black.

These inequalities have struck Andrew Ginther, who was sworn in as mayor last month and previously served as city council president.

“I was at the newly-renovated Lincoln Theatre with my daughter, who had just turned 3," recalled Ginther. "It sort of hit me when we were leaving. I’m in a neighborhood with one of the highest infant mortality rates in the state and the country. After that, I knew I wanted to galvanize the city to put together some sort of task force."

In response to the task force’s findings, the city created CelebrateOne, a partnership between the Columbus Public Health Department, the state Department of Medicaid and a number of other public and private entities. The initiative has a clear goal: to reduce the city’s infant mortality rate 40 percent by 2020 while cutting the health disparity gap.

Infant mortality rates vary throughout the United States — from a high of nearly 10 deaths per 100,000 births in Mississippi to a low of 3.5 in Alaska. All told, the U.S. death rate of six babies per 100,000 is one of the highest in the developed world.

The most common causes of infant mortality in America are complications stemming from low birth weight, premature birth and unsafe sleep environments.

To achieve lasting results, the city’s health workers are attempting to address underlying social issues that have left some residents struggling.

"When we talk about high rates of infant mortality, we’re not just talking about access to medical care," said Liane Egle, director of CelebrateOne. "We’re talking about a lack of stable housing and educational opportunity. We’re talking about high crime and gun violence."

While attempting to address a range of issues, the program takes a targeted approach. CelebrateOne started working in three neighborhoods in 2015. Over time, it will cover a total of eight neighborhoods, with the intent of tailoring its program to each specific community.

“Our Near South neighborhood has a very active and engaged civic presence but lacks educational programs," said Erika Clark Jones, director of community strategies for CelebrateOne. "So we found a real desire to create some sort of hub for new moms, teen moms, grandmothers, fathers, whoever, to come learn more about keeping babies safe. A sort of resident-to-resident education program, which we’re now trying to get the infrastructure in place for.”

Columbus’ neighborhood-by-neighborhood approach to this issue may be rare, but it’s not the first to lead community-based efforts to curb infant mortality rates.

The Northern Manhattan Perinatal Partnership was founded in Harlem back in 1990 and was considered a trailblazer in leveraging community health assets to reduce infant mortality. Since its founding, infant mortality in the community has dropped 78 percent. In 2015, New York City reported its lowest infant mortality rate on record.

Since Baltimore began its B’more for Healthy Babies initiative in 2009, the city’s infant mortality rate dropped 23 percent, while the rate of sleep-related deaths decreased 50 percent.

"The U.S. has traditionally been very medically-driven in its approach to health, and public health has always sort of taken a back seat," said Rebecca Dineen, co-leader of the Baltimore initiative. "I think cities are realizing that public health issues are indicators of what’s happening throughout the society and that developing a long-term strategy [addressing] those underlying issues like trauma, stress and education is what really helps people."

In Columbus, not all of the efforts to address infant morality are being done on a strictly neighborhood level. The Central Ohio Hospital Council recently established standards to prevent women from having their babies early — which can contribute to infant mortality — unless medically necessary. There’s also a citywide program to teach residents the “ABC’s of safe sleep”: alone, on their back and in a crib.

"The safe sleep ambassador training [program] teaches people those ABC’s, and then they in turn are supposed to go out into the community and tell 20 more people," said Egle, the CelebrateOne director. "We’ve had everyone from social workers, soon-to-be grandmothers, children’s advocacy organizations, even a men’s fraternity take part."

Ginther, the new mayor of Columbus, is convinced it’s an issue that demands a broad approach, carried out at the local level.

"The greatest contributors to health outcomes are tied to social determinants of health," Ginther said. "Cities need to be held accountable, because we are the ones who are best positioned to addressed them
See MoreSee Less

3 weeks ago  ·  

Meet the people who actually write Ohio’s laws (and they’re not lawmakers
Jeremy Pelzer,

COLUMBUS, Ohio—Ohio has 132 state lawmakers — and about 150 state law writers.

While Ohio legislators introduce and pass about 2,000 bills and resolutions every session, they don’t write the actual legislation. That’s up to the little-known Legislative Service Commission, a non-partisan agency dedicated to helping lawmakers do their job.

Here’s an inside look at how Ohio lawmakers and staff members turn an idea into a piece of legislation.

LSC staffers are the unsung workhorses of the Ohio General Assembly – the ones who take lawmakers’ ideas for bills and translate them into official legal wording, taking care to ensure there’s no conflict with the U.S. and Ohio constitutions, federal law, or any other part of Ohio’s lengthy revised code.

They also write analyses on every piece of legislation, as well as on the governor’s massive state budget plan every two years. And when a lawmaker has a question about a bill or a policy, LSC will be there with an answer.

"I don’t think that we could do our jobs without them," said state Rep. Niraj Antani, a Dayton-area Republican.

Created in 1953, LSC occupies several floors of a skyscraper across from the Ohio Statehouse. A number of the agency’s workers are attorneys, and many have been there a decade or longer, giving them a knowledge of the legislative process that most lawmakers – who can only serve eight years because of term limits – don’t have.

Such experience is needed at LSC because of the stakes involved. A slight difference in language can create major headaches – as lawmakers learned in 2013 when they discovered that a bill they passed raising rural highway speed limits to 70 miles per hour only applied to Interstates, not other highways like U.S. 30.

In such scenarios, the General Assembly can quickly pass another bill to set things right. What’s more worrisome is the prospect of finding flawed language in a proposed constitutional amendment, said Lynda Jacobsen, LSC’s division chief for judiciary and elections issues.

"The first time you have something you draft that you know is going to the voters to …become a permanent part of the state constitution, it’s a little nerve-wracking," she said. "The first time it’s sued about, you kind of do the ‘OK, don’t challenge what I did on it.’"

LSC rarely makes such mistakes, said agency director Mark Flanders, because each bill draft is reviewed by several other people – including a staff attorney and the lawmaker behind the measure – before it’s officially introduced in the Ohio House or Senate.

The whole bill drafting process can take anywhere between a couple of days to several months, depending on the complexity of the legislation, Flanders said. The legislation they work on can range from a 4,000-page-plus state budget bill to a resolution recognizing "Hang On Sloopy" as Ohio’s official rock song.

And when the legislature’s in session, staffers sometimes have only a couple of hours to draw up an amendment before it’s voted on.

"We tell people when we hire people that a lot of legislative work is done at night," Flanders said. "So if the legislators are here, then we’re here too, sitting in on committees and getting things ready for the next day."

Such a job might seem intimidating. But Julie Rishel, LSC’s division chief for labor and management, said she enjoys the challenge of turning lawmakers’ ideas into laws.

"It’s fun to discover things," she said. "I like the law. I know that sounds kind of canned, but I do. And I like when a member asks for something and I have to puzzle it out and figure out how to make it work."

Under Ohio legislative rules, lawmakers are free to write their own bills – LSC is only required to review them before they’re introduced. But in practice, that rarely, if ever, happens.

State Rep. John Becker, a Cincinnati-area Republican, said that’s because LSC has become an "indispensable" resource for legislators with a bill idea, no matter how rough of a form it’s in.

"We can give them something on the back of a wet napkin," he said. "We just make a phone call, send them an email, and then they get back to us with any questions."

Becker said LSC is particularly good at working with lawmakers – without a hint of partisanship or political bias – to figure out what they want their bill to do and find the best way to do it.

"I’ll say, ‘help me think this through,’ and I’ll kind of just start rambling on some ideas, and they’ll kind of work with me to help me figure out what I’m trying to say," Becker said. "Their job is to kind of help us to figure out what it is we want, because sometimes we’re not sure."
See MoreSee Less

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)


Forgot Password?

Join Us

Password Reset
Please enter your e-mail address. You will receive a new password via e-mail.