Legislative Update for January 16, 2018

CRNA Scope of Practice, Anti-MOC Bills Could See Movement
The 132nd General Assembly returns to action this month for a busy spring work period. The legislature is expected to tackle a handful of contentious issues before departing at the end of May. Lawmakers will consider a state capital budget, Congressional redistricting reform, legislation to shore up Ohio’s unemployment compensation program, and a broad education reform bill. Ohio’s Medicaid budget seems stable for now, though Congressional inaction on CHIP and potential changes to the Affordable Care Act by the Trump Administration could complicate matters. On the healthcare front, the General Assembly has a number of bills pending in each chamber. As previously reported, the Ohio House Insurance Committee plans to hold hearings on House Bill 416, which seeks to modify Ohio’s health price transparency law.

There are two other pieces of legislation that the Ohio Chapter is monitoring closely. House Bill 191, sponsored by State Rep. Anne Gonzales (R-Westerville), would grant independent practice authority to nurse anesthetists by removing the current physician supervision requirement. The bill comes on the heels of enactment of HB 216 in the 131st General Assembly, which made several changes to the scope of practice for other nurse practitioners. The Ohio Chapter along with the Ohio State Medical Association and the Ohio Society of Anesthesiologists have expressed concerns with the measure. House Bill 273, sponsored by State Rep. Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green), would prohibit hospitals and insurance plans from requiring maintenance of certification (MOC) as a condition of employment or reimbursement. Anti-MOC bills have been introduced in a number of states as frustration has grown between physicians and credentialing bodies. HB 273 appears on hold following a meeting held last month between several national physician organizations and the American Board of Medical Specialties.

Ohio Governor’s Race Narrows as Filing Deadline Approaches
At one point, the race to succeed Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) featured four Republican candidates and six democratic candidates. Thankfully, the last couple of weeks have seen a number of candidates drop out. Candidates for the Office of Governor must file their petitions by February 6th in order to be on the May Primary Ballot. The most significant campaign shake-up came on the Republican side, where Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted opted to end his candidacy and become Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s running mate. DeWine and Husted were considered to be the top two candidates on the Republican side. Further, following State Treasurer Josh Mandel’s termination of his candidacy for United States Senate, Ohio Congressman Jim Renacci announced he would end his campaign for Governor and instead run for Senate. With Husted on DeWine’s ticket and Renacci seeking a US Senate seat, the only other Republican candidate for Governor is current Ohio Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor; most pundits and experts believe DeWine will easily win his party’s nomination for Governor.

The Democratic side of the Governor’s race remains more fractured, despite the departure of a handful of candidates. As we entered 2018, State Senator Joe Schiavoni, former Congresswoman Betty Sutton, former State Representative Connie Pillich, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, and Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill were all seeking the Democratic nomination for Governor. Congresswoman Sutton ended her campaign and joined Cordray’s ticket as a candidate for Lt. Governor. Further, Mayor Whaley ended her campaign and endorsed Cordray. Unfortunately for the Democratic Party, former Congressman and Fox News Contributor Dennis Kucinich stunned many political insiders by announcing his candidacy for Governor earlier this month. Kucinich had not previously indicated an interest in running for Governor, but enjoys strong name ID across Ohio. The Democrats now have five candidates (Cordray, Schiavoni, Kucinich, Pillich, O’Neill) seeking the party’s nomination for Governor. This presents several challenges for the Democratic Party considering the opposition seems to be coalescing around the DeWine/Husted ticket. Expect more surprises over the next few weeks as February 6th approaches.