Statehouse News By Towner Policy Group

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Statehouse News By Towner Policy Group ...

    Ohio Counseling Association

    Legislative Report

Bill to Make Changes to the Practice of Marriage and Family Therapy Introduced

Representatives Shawn Webster (R Hamilton) and Tom Letson (D Warren) have teamed up to introduce House Bill

    427 which revises the laws governing the practice of marriage and family therapists. HB 427 would expand the scope of practice of marriage and family therapists to allow for the diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional disorders. Independent marriage and family therapists would be permitted to diagnosis and treat mental and emotional disorders without supervision. The bill, as introduced, does not add the requirement that MFTs complete course work in diagnosis and treatment in order to become licensed.

    HB 427 also amends the law to add independent marriage and family therapists to the list of professionals that can supervise professional counselors in the diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional disorders. Currently the list includes: psychologists, psychiatrists, professional clinical counselors and independent social workers. The bill also expands the list of the providers that can supervise social workers to include independent marriage and family therapists.

    The bill has been referred to the House Health Committee. The bill has had three hearing in the committee. Sponsor testimony was given on March 12, 2008. A proponent hearing was held on April 2, 2008. Testifying in support was Erin Schaeffer, President of the Ohio Association of Marriage and Family Therapists; James Rough, Executive Director of the Counselors, Social Workers and Marriage and Family Therapists Board; Patricia Parr, President of the Ohio Association of Marriage and Family Therapists; and Dale Brinker, Executive Director of the Community Counseling Center in Ashtabula.

    The committee accepted all testimony at the third hearing on April 9, 2008. Testifying in support was Tommie Robertson, a Marriage and Family Therapist; Cindy Wallis, a Social Worker and the Director of child and adolescent programming at a community mental health agency in Mansfield; and Mark Mecum, policy analyst for the Ohio Association of Child Caring Agencies. Dr. Todd Ivan of the Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Association offered interested party testimony. Dr. Ivan noted that the OPPA had recently changed their position from oppose to interested party, but their group still had concern with expanding the authority to diagnose and treat mental illness to MFTs.

    A hearing was held on April 16, 2008 and the bill was to have been reported out; however, due to time constraints the bill was not heard.

Comprehensive Mental Health Parity Bills Begin Hearings

Representatives Ted Celeste (D Grandview Heights) and Jon Peterson (R Delaware) introduced House Bill 384. The

    bill is the comprehensive parity bill that expands on the mental health parity bill passed during the last General Assembly. The previous legislation only mandated coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of biologically based mental illness. HB 384 would expand mandated coverage for all “mental illnesses and substance abuse or addiction conditions”.

    The bill has been referred to the House Insurance Committee. A sponsor hearing was held on February 5, 2008. Proponent testimony was given on April 8, 2008 by Steve Hedge, Executive Director of Delaware-Morrow Mental Health and Recovery Services Board, testified on behalf of the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities; Marion Sherman, the Immediate Past President of the Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Association; Gregory Brigham, representing the Ohio Psychological Association; and Donna Conley, CEO of Ohio Citizen Advocates. A third hearing is scheduled for April 15, 2008.

Senator Dale Miller (D Cleveland) has introduced companion legislation to Celeste and Peterson’s mental health parity

    bill. Miller’s bills would require insurance plans to cover treatment all mental illnesses and substance abuse. Senate Bill

    298 has been referred to the Senate Insurance, Commerce and Labor Committee.

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    Ohio Counseling Association

    Legislative Report

Bills to Mandate Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Introduced

    Representative Ted Celeste (D Grandview Heights) has introduced House Bill 294. HB 294 would mandate that health insurance provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, published by the American Psychiatric Association. The provisions of this bill would not apply to plans that cover specific diseases or accidents only.

    HB 294 has been referred to the House Insurance Committee. The bill had sponsor hearing on January 22, 2008. In the testimony Representative Celeste told the committee that if comprehensive parity were to pass (HB 384), PTSD would be covered under that plan as well. Senator Dale Miller (D Cleveland) introduced companion legislation, Senate Bill 297.

    The bill was referred to Senate Insurance, Commerce and Labor Committee and was given a sponsor hearing on April 2, 2008.

Bill Requires Suicide Prevention Services for Students

State Representative Bob Hagan (D Youngstown) has introduced House Bill 439, which would require each school

    district and community school to provide suicide prevention services for students in grades five through twelve. The bill was referred to the House Education Committee and had sponsor testimony on April 8, 2008.

    House Bill 439 establishes that the board of education of each city, local exempted village, and joint vocational school district is to provide suicide prevention services for all students enrolled in the schools of the district in grades five through twelve. These services may include, but need not be limited to, any of the following:

    ; Mental health services in school-based health centers;

    ; Evidence-based suicide prevention programs;

    ; Awareness training for all district employees;

    ; Suicide prevention education to students;

    ; A written policy and procedures for responding to suicidal warning signs, threats, attempts, and completions;

    ; Mental health risk assessments and referral to mental health providers;

    ; Referral systems

Cruelty to Animal Bill Introduced

House Bill 418, introduced by Representatives Courtney Combs (R Hamilton) and Brian Williams (D Akron), would

    revise the penalties and sentencing provisions regarding violations of the cruelty to animals laws and expand the scope of temporary protection orders, domestic violence protection orders, anti-stalking protection orders, and other related protection orders to include the protection of any companion animal that is in the complainant’s or alleged victim’s residence.

    Under the bill if a child under the age of 18, who is adjudicated a delinquent child, is convicted of cruelty to animal charges the child shall be ordered by the court to undergo psychological evaluation and counseling for at least 6 months. The court is permitted to order the cost of the evaluation, the counseling, or both to be paid by the parent, guardian, or other person having care of the child.

    In order for a counselor to qualify to provide the counseling under this bill, they would have to complete a course of study with regard to the counseling of individuals who abuse animals as part of their continuing education requirements for licensure. The course would be approved by the Professional Standards Committees of the Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board. Those licensees not intending to provide services under this bill, would not be required to take the course regarding animal abuse.

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    Ohio Counseling Association

    Legislative Report

    Also licensees of the Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board, the State Board of Psychology, and the State Medical Board, who complete the required continuing education, qualify to provide the services mandated under this legislation.

    The bill has been referred to the House Criminal Justice Committee. The bill had sponsor testimony on March 13, 2008. A second hearing was held on April 10, 2008. Testifying on the bill was Dean Vickers, of the Humane Society of the United States; Jed Mignano, Chief Investigator of the Cleveland Animal Protective League; Jodi Lytle Buckman, Executive Director of the Capital Area Humane Society; James Prueter, a veterinarian; Lesley Ashworth, former Director of the Domestic Violence Unit in the Columbus City Prosecutor’s Office; and Phyllis Carlson-Riehm, Executive Director

    of ACTION OHIO Coalition for Battered Women. A third hearing for the bill is scheduled for April 17, 2008.

Background Checks for Licensure - Effective March 28, 2008

House Bill 104, sponsored by State Representative Tony Core (R Rushsylvania), requires licensure boards to conduct

    criminal background checks on applicants for initial licensure. Whether or not the results affect the applicant’s ability to

    be licensed in Ohio would be at the discretion of each independent Board. The bill does contain a confidentiality section, so the results of the background check would not be public records. Only the Board and the applicant would be privy to what the background check turned up. According to the sponsor, only licensure boards that requested inclusion in the bill were included. The Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board is included under this new requirement.

Healthcare Simplification Act Effective June 25, 2008

    Nearly a year after the bill was introduced and after many interested party meetings and committee hearings, House Bill 125, the Healthcare Simplification Act sponsored by State Representative Matt Huffman (R - Lima), has been signed into law by Governor Strickland. Most provisions of the bill will be effective on June 28, 2008, some provisions will not be effective until September 23, 2008. The Ohio House of Representatives passed the bill by a vote of 91 5 on October 9,

    2007. The Ohio Senate passed the bill on March 11, 2008 by a vote of 32-0. Then the House of Representatives concurred with the Senate changes by a vote of 93-1 on March 12, 2008.

    House Bill 125 remedies many of the administrative demands providers face in their interactions with insurers. The bill makes the contracting process more transparent by requiring a summary disclosure form in contracts along with full disclosure of fee schedules, categories of coverage, and terms under which the contract can be amended. The bill also restricts how “all products” clauses are used and restricts the leasing or renting of a contract from one payor to another. The bill also requires the Ohio Department of Insurance to create one, single credentialing form for providers and limits the credentialing review process to 90 days.

    The bill creates the Advisory Committee on Eligibility and Real Time Claim Adjudication to study and recommend mechanisms or standards that will enable providers to send to and receive from payers sufficient information to enable a provider to determine at the time of the enrollee's visit the enrollee's eligibility for services covered by the payer as well as

    real time adjudication of provider claims for services and requires the Committee to submit a report of its findings and recommendations for legislative action to the General Assembly.

    As passed, House Bill 125 precludes any health care contract that includes a most favored nation clause from being entered into, and precludes any health care contract from being amended or renewed at the instance of a contracting entity to include a most favored nation clause, for a two-year period after the bill’s effective date, subject to extension but

    provides that this prohibition does not apply to and does not prohibit the continued use of a most favored nation clause in a health care contract that is between a contracting entity and a hospital and that is in existence on the effective date of the

    bill under certain specified circumstances.

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    Ohio Counseling Association

    Legislative Report

    The bill also creates a 17-member Joint Legislative Study Commission on Most Favored Nation Clauses in Health Care Contracts, chaired by the Superintendent of Insurance, and charged with studying specified areas pertaining to most favored nation clauses in health care contracts, and requires the Commission to submit a final report of its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly.

Governor’s Executive Order for Regulations

    On February 12, 2008, Governor Ted Strickland signed an Executive Order that provides guidelines to create a “more efficient and effective regulatory environment in Ohio”. Following a philosophy of “Common Sense Business

    Regulation,” the executive order requires all cabinet agencies, boards and commissions to review existing rules and

    processes; to treat those affected by their rules and regulatory processes as customers and treat them consistently across regions, offices, and departments; and to consolidate regulatory rules and processes. The agencies are to get rid of any that "are unnecessary, ineffective, contradictory, redundant, inefficient, needlessly burdensome, that unnecessarily impede economic growth, or that have had unintended negative consequences.”

    The regulation review would be done in the normal five-year time frame now mandated by law for state rules. The executive order directs certain cabinet agencies to designate an existing staff member as an agency regulatory ombudsman who will act as a liaison between the agency and those affected by the regulatory rules and processes. The order also directs regulators to set a greater emphasis on outreach to those affected by state regulations and establishes expectations regarding agencies’ approach to regulatory compliance, and to take a less punitive approach by waiving penalties for

    some first-time or procedural violations.

Ohio Bureau of Workers Comp to Hold Public Forums

    The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Board of Directors will host two public forums on medical service improvements of interest and concern to Ohio’s employers and employees. The forum, Medical Issues Part I: Providers,

    will be held from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Thursday, April 24, at the William Green Building, located at 30 W. Spring St., Columbus.

The first 90 minutes of the forum will focus on enhancing BWC’s medical provider network including:

    ; Identifying barriers that keep quality providers from participating in BWC’s program that, if removed, would

    enhance the delivery of quality, cost-effective medical treatment;

    ; Identifying strategies BWC could implement to enhance provider performance for the delivery of quality, cost-

    effective health care and return-to-work services.

    The final 30 minutes of the session will be open for public comment on any BWC policies, procedures or programs.

A second forum is planned for Thursday, June 26 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and will focus on:

    ; Scope of coverage and level of benefits for medical, vocational rehabilitation and pharmaceutical services;

    ; Reimbursement methodologies for these treatments; and

    ; Best practices for assuring efficient and effective delivery of the managed care process.

    Medical providers, representatives of industries and associations and the general public are encouraged to register by April 18, 2008, their intent to address the Board by completing a form available at On-site registration also

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    Ohio Counseling Association

    Legislative Report

will be accepted. Speakers will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis. Testimony will be limited to 3 5 minutes.

    Those who wish to speak may also send the following information to or fax it to (614)


    ; Name

    ; Title

    ; Company/association representing

    ; Mailing address

    ; E-mail address

    ; Phone number

    ; Summary of your presentation

    Confirmation e-mails will be sent after your registration form is received. We will notify participants of their allotted time to speak by April 22, 2008. For information about the registration process, contact Tammy Blackburn at (614) 995-1821 or


Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board Rules

     th Floor, Room 1932, A public hearing will be held on April 25, 2008 at the Riffe Center, 77 South High Street, 19

    Columbus, Ohio at 10:00a.m. for revisions to the Board’s rules. The Board intends to eliminate the Case Presentation method (CPM) exam as a requirement for submitting a formal application for one of its licenses and, as a requirement for obtaining the LCDCII, LCDC III and LICDC. According to the Board, this action is the result of the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC & RC) decision to stop requiring and supporting the CPM exam and to integrate its components into a new Alcohol and Other Drug Addiction (AODA) written exam.

    Rules 4758-4-01, 4758-5-03, 04 and 05 were filed with the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review on March 20, 2008. Copies of the rules and the public hearing notice may be obtained from

Medicaid Reimbursement Increases

    The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services amended its Medicaid reimbursement rule to make changes to some of the Medicaid maximum fees; however, Governor Strickland made the decision in December to delay all Medicaid rate increases for providers. It is believed the increase in reimbursement will go forward July 1, 2008.

Medicaid School Rules

    The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has been working on draft rules that will affect Medicaid recipients and providers in the schools special needs programs. The rules will provide reimbursement to the schools for the Medicaid recipients served. The rules are to cover professional counselors for mental health services. As yet, the rules have not been filed with the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review.

Representative Slesnick Appointed

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    Ohio Counseling Association

    Legislative Report

     ndSteve Slesnick, a Democrat from Canton, was the winner of the Democratic primary for the 52 House District and was

    appointed to former State Representative William Healy seat. Healy resigned in December, 2007 since he was elected as

    the Mayor of the City of Canton. Slesnick was appointed to the seat on March 11, 2008 by the House Democrat Caucus.

    Slesnick will be the Democratic candidate for the seat in November. Slesnick is a Vice President of Slesnick Iron and

    Metal, his family’s scrap metal business, which is in Canton.

How to Contact Your Lobbyists

You may contact your lobbyists at the following address:

Carolyn Towner, Kristy Smith, and Amanda Sines

    Towner Policy Group, LLC.

    33 North Third Street, Suite 320

    Columbus, Ohio 43215

614-221-7157 (telephone)

    614-221-0756 (fax)

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