Getting Involved in ACC’s Ohio Chapter and State Advocacy
June 22, 2016 | Jeffrey A. Robinson, MD
ACC’s Ohio Chapter held its annual Legislative Day on May 10 in Columbus. The kick-off dinner and legislative appointments were attended by 28 physicians and cardiovascular team members, including three FITs as key participants. Members received a briefing on the current state legislative session by Monica Hueckel, director of government affairs at the Ohio State Medical Association, as well as an update from ACC State Advocacy by Michael Lawrence.
Ohio Chapter members met with 33 members of the Ohio Legislature, including 20 members of the House and 13 Senators. There were three current bills emphasized and discussed by Ohio Chapter members:
- Senate Bill 129: Prior Authorization. ACC’s Ohio Chapter supported this legislation, aimed to simplify and expedite the process of obtaining prior authorization for medical tests and procedures. In particular, this bill mandates that insurers must have a web-based system to receive prior authorization requests. Furthermore, insurers must disclose all prior authorization rules to healthcare providers in advance. Enrollees of the health plan must receive basic information about which drugs and services will require prior authorization. The bill created time frames for response, mandating faster turnaround times for prior authorization requests: Five days for non-urgent requests and one day for urgent situations. The bill included a provision for allowing “retrospective review” for unanticipated procedures that were performed during an authorized procedure, with some limitations. In addition, the legislation included a specific provision prohibiting retroactive denials, which would protect coverage and medical necessity “take backs,” as long as the procedure was performed within 60 days of receiving authorization.
- House Bill 113: CPR in Schools. The Ohio Chapter lobbied that all high school students in the State should receive education and skills practice in hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), prior to graduation. While school districts have the flexibility to offer training at any time during grades 9 – 12, this legislation insured that students would be able to practice “hands on” training with a mannequin, in order to learn the fundamental psycho-motor skills necessary to perform effective CPR. The bill did not mandate CPR as a requirement for graduation. This legislation emphasized that the goal of this school-based curriculum was to promote awareness of CPR, not provide official certification. School districts are encouraged to collaborate with local organizations to provide this training for high school students.
- Senate Bill 252: Youth Athletics Sudden Cardiac Arrest. The Ohio Chapter supported the education and training provisions in this legislation, which is intended to help coaches, school officials, and community organizations offering organized sports, identify potential problems among competitive young athletes. The overall emphasis of this initiative is to promptly bring concerning signs and symptoms to medical attention. To this end, the Ohio Chapter supported a requirement for annual training to be completed by the coaches of any youth athletic organization. In addition, ACC members emphasized that the expertise of professional medical organizations and credentialed cardiovascular physicians should be integral to the development of guidelines, education modules and ongoing revisions.
Prior to adjourning for the summer legislative recess at the end of May, all three of these bills were passed by both the Ohio House and Senate. To date, over 30 states a passed legislation recommending that all high school students receive training in CPR prior to graduation. At least 10 states have passed legislation addressing education among youth athletic coaches in the potential signs and symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest. Finally, a number of states are addressing reform to the prior authorization process.
In reflection, this event highlights the great opportunity for FITs to increase their involvement within the ACC, at both the state and national levels. Certainly, legislative advocacy is a robust facet of the ACC. All FITs are encouraged to attend ACC’s 2016 Legislative Conference in Washington, DC, September 11 – 13. Learn more and register on ACC.org.
This article was authored by Jeffrey A. Robinson, MD, a pediatric cardiology fellow in training (FIT) at The Congenital Heart Collaborative, Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.