Tag Archives: hospitals

Ohio Hospitals Agree to New Painkiller Protocol in Emergency Rooms

Gov. John Kasich announced Monday that hospital emergency rooms across the state have agreed to a new protocol that would restrict the prescription of addictive painkillers to patients who complain of pain (Source: “Ohio ER policy aims to fight drug abuse,” Toledo Blade, May 8, 2012).

“There’s a message to those going into those emergency rooms: We’re not giving the stuff to you willy-nilly anymore,” Mr. Kasich said. “We’re not going to allow you to get a prescription and go out and give it some relative or give it to some kid, or give it to anybody. … Not only were the emergency rooms excited about cooperating with these protocols, but then the urgent care centers came in and said, ‘Can we help, too?'”

According to Dr. Ted Wymyslo, the guidelines are voluntary and do not have the force of law. However, the protocol has been endorsed by the Ohio Hospital Association.

“Handling this challenge with statewide agreement allows hospitals to present a united front, encouraging those in chronic pain to work closely with their primary care physicians while discouraging dangerous, drug-seeking behavior that is part of the addiction epidemic Ohio is working to break,” said Mike Abrams, president and CEO of the Ohio Hospital Association.

Source: Ohio Health Policy Review, May 10, 2012

Texas Doctors Sue ObamaCare

On Wednesday, a court in Tyler, Texas, heard a lawsuit against ObamaCare brought by two Texas-based doctor-owned hospitals. The doctors argue in the case that ObamaCare ends competition between doctor-owned hospitals and non-doctor-owned hospitals by stopping the growth of their facilities and banning any new doctor-owned facilities from opening. This means that the healthcare “reform” legislation pushed through Congress effectively favors one type of business over another, and even punishes doctors who have a financial stake in the success of their facilities. Should the doctors be unsuccessful in their lawsuit, ObamaCare will give patients less choice over their healthcare providers and medical facilities, and the lack of competition will drive up healthcare costs and decrease patient care.

This is just one of around 23 lawsuits against ObamaCare, including the lawsuit filed by 20 states to stop the federal mandate to buy healthcare and the increased cost to the states. The judge presiding over the states’ lawsuit said that he will rule by October 14.

Source: Liberty Watch, October 1, 2010

The Hosptial Tax

By State Representative Jarrod Martin

As you may be aware, Ohio faces incredibly important fiscal decisions as an $8 billion budget deficit looms in the next year. With 10.5 percent of Ohioans unemployed and thousands of jobs lost in the past 12 months alone, it is important that lawmakers in Columbus be focused on finding long-term solutions to our state’s budget problems.

House Bill 1, the biennial budget for 2010-2011, included a new hospital franchise fee, which raised taxes on our health care sector. According to the Ohio Hospital Association, this fee will generate approximately $718 million for the state.

Approximately $575 million of the new hospital franchise fee will be reimbursed to hospitals. To correct the disparity between these two figures, Ohio’s hospitals are responsible for about $150 million in new fees. This new responsibility has caused many of Ohio’s hospitals to cut jobs, reduce services, or delay expansion projects.

Hospitals are an important presence in Ohio, as they are among the top employers in the state. They represent a growing sector within the economy at a time when this sort of economic expansion is scarce. As a growing sector, hospitals also generate crucial economic activity. In fact, they are one of the major drivers of Ohio’s economy and provide much-needed jobs for many communities.

The new hospital franchise fee attempts to balance the state’s budget by drawing from Ohio’s hospitals. The goal is to decrease the deficit, but the consequences of this tax must be noted. It has the potential to affect job creation efforts and the welfare of Ohio’s families for years to come.

I am concerned that this hospital tax will not be an effective way to raise revenue for the state. It creates a palpable strain on the health care system. In addition, it adds pressure to Ohio’s taxpayers, as it asks them to take on the duty of balancing the budget.

As a solution, Representatives Terry Boose and Troy Balderson have introduced House Bill 497, which aims to minimize the hospital franchise fee. The proposed bill would subtract the cost of uncompensated care from the tax base, as well as Medicare and Medicaid costs. It would also reduce the tax base from 1.61 to 1.5 percent. These courses of action would follow the recommendations from the Ohio Hospital Association.

By relieving hospitals of taxes on the free services they provide, hospitals could save millions of dollars. This money saved could be used to pay their employees, renovate facilities and maintain stellar service to Ohioans. Ensuring a consistently outstanding health care system promotes the well-being of both the citizens of Ohio and the state’s economy. House Bill 497 is a step in the right direction toward rebuilding our economy and making Ohio a great place to work, live and raise a family.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid OKs Additional Payment to Ohio Hospitals for Medicaid Expenses

After lobbying from Gov. Ted Strickland, officials at the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have given the go-ahead to a state plan to pay hospitals an additional $87 million this year for the care they provide to low-income Ohioans on Medicaid (Source: “Feds OK plan to let hospitals recoup Medicaid expense,” Columbus Dispatch, July 15, 2010).

The bulk payment, which will be disbursed to hospitals by the end of this month, and a 5-percent increase in Medicaid reimbursement fees effective in October were included in last year’s state budget to let hospitals recoup some of the money they were losing through a new state franchise fee.

The fee is projected to cost hospitals statewide $718 million over the two-year budget ending June 30, 2011. The two provisions aimed at offsetting that expense will let hospitals recoup $569 million, according to the Ohio Hospital Association.

Source: Ohio Health Policy Review, July 16, 2010.

Ohio Right-to-life Opposes Ohio House H.B. 333

H.B. 333, which was introduced by State Rep. Dan Stewart (D, Columbus) in October, has been advancing in the Ohio House Health Committee. A hearing was held for proponents of the bill on February 24 and the bill is scheduled for proponent, opponent and interested party testimony on Wednesday, March 3.

The bill tramples on the conscience rights of medical professionals and religious hospitals.

Under H.B. 333:

  • Hospital emergency rooms, including those at religiously-affiliated hospitals, are required to provide the morning-after pill (referred to as “emergency contraception”) to victims of sexual assault.
  • Hospitals would be required to inform the women that emergency contraception “does not cause an abortion” or “interrupt an established pregnancy”. (Because “emergency contraception” in some cases may cause the death of an early human embryo by preventing implantation after fertilization has occurred, this information would be very misleading to any pro-life person who believes that life begins at fertilization.)
  • If a hospital violates these requirements, the Department of Health can impose a civil penalty of at least $10,000 with no limit on the maximum penalty. If there is a second violation, the State can seek an injunction to close the hospital.

H.B. 333 – Key Arguments

  • The bill violates the conscience rights of pro-life health care workers and religiously-affiliated hospitals by forcing them to distribute the morning-after pill, which, in some cases, might cause the death of a living human embryo.
  • The State of Ohio should not coerce health care providers into violating their religious and moral objections against ending a human life.
  • The bill requires hospital emergency rooms to give women misleading information that the morning-after pill does not cause an abortion or interrupt an “established pregnancy”.
  • This information would only be relevant in obtaining the informed consent of persons who had moral concerns about abortion, and those are precisely the persons who are most likely to be misled by it.
  • Although supporters of this bill claim to be “pro-choice”, their bill would deny pro-life people in the health care professions the “freedom to choose” not to participate in the destruction of human life.
  • This bill would require health care providers to violate the original Hippocratic Oath which stated: “I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy.”
  • If the State of Ohio decides that the desire for immediate access to the morning-after pill for rape victims requires health care providers and facilities to provide it despite their moral objections, it will set a precedent for using a similar argument to require health care providers and facilities to provide surgical abortions.
  • The morning-after pill is already widely available at many pharmacies (over-the-counter for adults and by prescription for minors under age 17), yet the proponents of this bill want to force even pro-life hospitals to dispense it.
  • Although proponents of the bill claim it is needed to improve access to health care, the bill allows the State to close a hospital for failing to distribute the morning-after pill. How would closing a hospital improve access to health care for anyone?