Advocacy Alert: January 2014

Medicare Cuts Deferred, Medical Mutual Insurance Visit and Opiod Legislation
Bobbie_CBy: Bobbie Celeste, PhD, OPA Director of Professional Affairs

Medicare Cuts Deferred!
APA Practice Organization let a lobbying effort in which psychologists sent more than 6,200 letters to Congress to urge this significant action. Thank you to all the Ohio psychologists who sent emails to your Congress members and Senators.

The Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) law in Congress required that provider fees be cut by 24 percent beginning in January 2014. In the latest minute budget compromise passed with bipartisan support, Congress stopped this mandatory SGR cut through March 31. Everyone agrees that the SGR formula is flawed and needs to be done. Until then, these temporary “doc fixes” have become the only way these significant cuts have been stopped. Read More.

Medical Mutual Visit
OPA visited the  headquarters of Medical Mutual in Toledo. Thanks to Dr. Dennis Kogut, the OPA Representative from the Toledo Academy of Professional Psychologists, a meeting was arranged with Medical Mutual Vice President Gary Thieman. Dr. Kogut and I discussed the value of psychological services and the fact that in general we hear fewer complaints about Medical Mutual than we do from most insurers. Mr. Thieman was open to our ideas and interested in learning more. Dr. Kogut’s described how psychologists are an important part of the health care team and offered OPA’s assistance in their chronic disease pilot programs. If you have any complaints or kudos for Medical Mutual insurance, please contact me so that I can pass them on to Mr. Thieman.

Opiod Legislation-OPA’s Dr. Greg Brigham Testifies
The Ohio Legislature took its holiday break beginning December 13 and will begin sessions again in the beginning of January. Opiod addiction remains a strong concern of this 130th General Assembly. Eleven bills are being heard in the House Health Committee dealing with prevention or treatment of opiod addiction. OPA’s Dr. Greg Brigham was invited by the Chairman of the House Health Committee to discuss medication-assisted treatment for addictions. He was very well received and answered a myriad of questions.

OPA plans to testify regarding several of the 11 bills, including HB 332 which sets standards and procedures for opiod treatment of chronic pain. HB 369 would mandate delivery and payment of a full spectrum of treatment options for those with opiod addiction. It also calls for an investment in Recovery Housing. If you or your colleagues have expertise in the area of opiod or heroin addiction, please contact OPA to serve as a resource for this important area.

To see other bills that OPA has been focusing on since last January, check out the OPA Bill Box.

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