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Sears Introduces New Medicaid Reform Legislation

October 24, 2013
Republican Newsroom

In an effort to assist low-income Ohioans in finding their way out of poverty and reducing their reliance on Medicaid, State Representative Barbara Sears (R-Monclova Township) has introduced comprehensive legislation to allow for important reforms to be made to Ohio’s Medicaid system and other support services.

The bill is a continued effort to curtail waste, fraud and abuse while ensuring for access and innovations that will lead to best practices in the future. It requires the Medicaid Director to implement reforms that will identify ways to improve the health of Medicaid recipients and lead to recipients assuming greater responsibility for their health care.

“I and other members of the House have taken a very broad and in-depth look at how Ohio’s Medicaid system can be improved to adequately address the needs of Ohioans since first working on the state operating budget at the beginning of the year,” Rep. Sears said. “This bill will help implement many of the changes that are needed, not only in Medicaid, but in many other capacities that that have an effect on Medicaid. In the end, Ohio residents will receive the care they need at a lower cost.”

The legislation increases civil penalties for defrauding the state and creates the Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee (JMOC), a bipartisan panel of House and Senate members to regularly review Ohio’s Medicaid program. Furthermore, a commission will be put in place to review the scope of practice of medical providers in various healthcare settings and make recommendations to eliminate barriers to care, as well as promote innovative programs related to emergency room diversion, telemedicine and group appointments.

Additional highlights of the bill include:

Opiate Addiction –Requires positive identification for receiving prescription opiates

Veterans – Establishes a commission to review Medicaid eligibility and treatment of Ohio veterans, as well as make recommendation to simplify healthcare coverage

Education – Reduces future Medicaid dependency by changing restrictions to obtaining a GED and providing resources to adults who wish to obtain a GED or high school diploma

Infant Mortality –Increases penalties on drug dealers who sell to pregnant women, reducing costs of babies born with drug dependency in the system

Disability Reform – Creates a BWC and Medicaid eligibility study commission to evaluate current practices and overlap, as well as to make recommendations to ensure the quality care of claimants and appropriate rates paid by businesses

Corrections and Recidivism – Creates a system of referrals to state agencies and community-based resources for inmates with mental and physical health issues, potentially saving hospitals from uncompensated care and giving former inmates time to adjust to community life

The legislation will be assigned to a House committee in the near future for further consideration.