VOLUME 19 NO. 18 • November 26, 2014

OSTEOFACTS

A Membership Publication of the Ohio Osteopathic Association

 VOLUME 19 NO. 18                                   November 26, 2014

 

  • Congress has returned to Washington and has little time to permanently repeal Medicare’s flawed physician payment system. This is the last chance to pass legislation this year—and we need your help! For the first time in history, Democrat and Republican members of the major health care Congressional committees have agreed to legislation that permanently repeals Medicare’s physician payment system. That means relief from the annual threat of cuts, significantly reducing penalties physicians face under reporting programs like meaningful use and the PQRS, and bringing those programs under better alignment. Take action today! Send a letter online to your Member of Congress, go to http://bit.ly/1ANiTu7.
  • About 100 OU-HCOM students, physicians and guests attended the annual Student Study Break in Athens, November 16. The reception, hosted by the OOA, was an opportunity for students to network with leaders in the profession. Prior to the reception, 50 physicians and students—all of whom are class officers or hold a leadership position in a student organization—participated in a specialworkshop. In addition, the OOA Board of Trustees met during the weekend. The events were supported by a grant from Eli Lilly and Company.
  • OOA President Paul T. Scheatzle, DO, and Executive Director Jon F. Wills attended the AOA’s Advocacy for Healthy Partnerships conference, November 21-23, in Phoenix. The agenda included national experts on transitional leadership, organizational evolution, and aligning culture and strategy. Wills was part of a panel presentation discussing state ACA implementation. Other Ohioans who participated included AOA President Robert S. Juhasz, DO; AOA Trustee William J. Burke, DO; and James J. Perez, DO, president of the American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
  • Anthony (AJ) Groeber was named executive director of the Medical Board effective November 16. He was executive director of the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals. Groeber holds an undergraduate degree from Ohio University and MBA from The Ohio State University. The Ohio State Board of Pharmacy named Steven W. Schierholt, Esq, as its new executive director. He currently serves as assistant superintendent at the Bureau of Criminal Investigation with the Office of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. Mary DiOrio, MD, the state epidemiologist and a point person on Ohio’s Ebola response team, was named medical director at the Ohio Department of Health. DiOrio, who has worked at ODH for 13 years, is board certified in preventive medicine. With her appointment, Interim Medical Director Mary Applegate, MD, returns to her permanent job as medical director at the Department of Medicaid.
  • OOA President-elect Robert W. Hostoffer, Jr, DO; Ohio ACOFP President Michael E. Dietz, DO; and Ohio ACOFP President-elect Cynthia S. Kelley, DO, represented the profession at the Ohio Coalition of Primary Care Physicians quarterly meeting, November 14. The agenda included a review of pending legislation and discussion about possible action by the Ohio General Assembly during the lame duck session. Legislators are expected to conclude their work by mid December. The Coalition intends to host a briefing for new members early next year.
  • The Health Policy Institute of Ohio (HPIO) released its latest publication, What is Population Health?, abrief that describes the consensus understanding of the topic that resulted from discussions among members of a workgroup of health care and public health stakeholders—including the OOA. View the brief at http://bit.ly/11LPmTa.
  • The OOA has been participating in interested party meetings on HB 378 (Sprague), which seeks to limit diversion of bupremorphine products on the street. The substitute bill would require physicians who treat patients in their offices with suboxone and similar products to obtain a terminal distributor’s license (TDL). Proposed Medical Board rules, currently in the hearing process, will establish requirements that all prescribers must follow. Concern continues as to whether in-office dispensing of bupreorphine should be limited to a 72-hour supply, but it appears most physicians have patients get prescriptions filled at pharmacies rather than dispensing from their offices. The vast majority of physician practices in Ohio are already are required to have a TDL, but there is currently a loophole for solo practitioners. A substitute bill has been referred to the House Health Committee.
  • A number of legislative bills of interest to the medical community continue to work their way through the Ohio General Assembly’s lame duck session. They include: 
    • HB 276 (Stautberg), which expands Ohio’s apology statute and makes reimbursement rules and policies inadmissible as evidence, passed the House and has been sent to the Senate.
    • HB 412 (Gonzales), which revises laws pertaining to physician assistants, has passed the House and continues to have hearing in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The Medical Board has suggested an amendment to provide a random audit of PA supervisory agreements.
    • HB 663 (Buchy, Huffman), which provides confidentiality and license protection for persons involved in lethal injections in capital punishment, passed the House. The legislation prompted concern from the Ohio State Medical Association and the OOA regarding the ability of the state to waive codes of ethics.
    • SB 276 (Jones, Tavares), which requires hospitals and free-standing birthing centers to implement an infant safe sleep screening policy, has passed the Senate and is having hearings in the Health and Aging Committee.  Amendments are anticipated.
    • HB 536 (Smith, Antonio), which requires children enrolled in licensed child care facilities be immunized according to schedules recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has been accepted as a substitute bill and is having hearings in the House Health and Aging Committee. The main proponent for this bill is the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, with support from the OOA and other physician groups.
    • HB 640 (Smith), which authorizes the State Attorney General to set up an alternate and expedited process for temporarily scheduling synthetic drugs (such as those known as bath salts and potpourri) in an illegal class, is in House Health and Aging Committee.
    • HCR 57 (Sears, Antonio) would urge the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to consider how its Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey and the monetary incentives tied to it has played a part in the opiate epidemic. Currently, the survey asks patients to rate their doctors on how well their pain was treated, which puts doctors in a difficult position if a patient is unsatisfied with treatment, resulting in a potential loss of compensation.
    • HB 394 (Smith, Antonio), which allows pharmacists to administer vaccinations to children under 14, is now in the Senate Medicaid, Health and Human Services Committee and continues to raise concern from the physician community. The OOA is part of a coalition opposing the bill as it now stands. Interested party meetings continue to find common ground.