UHCAN Ohio Applauds Passage of Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act

UHCAN Ohio applauds today’s passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) by the U.S. Senate on a 94-1 vote. Senator Robert Portman of Ohio was a lead sponsor.  Among its provisions, CARA would provide funds to encourage Ohio to implement Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) in schools. SBIRT is a preventive intervention tool used in medical offices, emergency rooms and in schools, in which a trained professional asks an individual a few screening questions about alcohol and drug use. It is a public health approach to risky substance use that can identify and help people that otherwise do not give indications of having a substance problem.  

“Through continued focus and funding toward community and prevention-based initiatives, like SBIRT, we can make sure that young people get access to help before it's too late,” said Kathleen Gmeiner, project director of Somebody Finally Asked Me!, a campaign of UHCAN Ohio to implement and secure funding for SBIRT in youth settings across Ohio.

Ohio News Service: Poll Puts Some Teeth into Efforts to Expand Ohio's Dental Team

COLUMBUS, Ohio - A new poll is adding some teeth to efforts to bring a new face to dental care in Ohio. There are more than 80 dental health professional shortage areas in the state, where there are not enough dentists to meet the needs of the community.

A statewide poll of 800 voters released Tuesday by the Dental Access Now coalition indicated that nearly 67 percent of Ohioans support changing the law to allow dental therapists to perform routine procedures, such as filling cavities. Columbus-area pediatric dentist Dr. Ed Sterling said these trained specialists work under a dentist's supervision. "The idea is to not only improve access to care," he said, "but also to free up the dentist's time so that the dentist's training and experience, which certainly exceeds that of a therapist, is spent in a more efficient way."

UHCAN Ohio Calls on Ohio Dept. of Insurance to Hold Hearings on Consumer Impact of Proposed Health Insurance Companies’ Mergers

“Today UHCAN Ohio joined other consumer advocates who submitted comments requesting the Ohio Department of Insurance to hold hearings on the two proposed mergers of health insurance companies, Cigna with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Aetna with Humana.

Our concern is for the millions of Ohioans currently insured by these companies and the potential impact the mergers would have on the affordability of coverage in Ohio’s insurance market. Ohio already faces some of the highest health insurance premiums in the country. One of the major culprits of Ohio’s high premiums is the lack of competition among insurers and these mergers will only make matters worse.

Consumers Spoke, MyCare Ohio Listened: Enrollees Will Now Get Durable Medical Equipment Faster

Consumer input CAN change our health care system for the better. In a recent blog, we shared how our survey of MyCare Ohio enrollees’ experiences informed decisions to improve care coordination and the availability of all services, supplies, and equipment. We’ve continued to use the survey findings to advocate for changes to make health care work better for all MyCare Ohio enrollees, and we’re happy to share another success!

Ohio Consumer Voice for Integrated Care (OCVIC) is UHCAN Ohio’s statewide coalition that is working to improve the care of older adults and people with disabilities enrolled in MyCare Ohio by bringing the voice of consumers to the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) and Managed Care Organizations (MCOs). Our efforts influenced the Ohio Department of Medicaid to create a new measurement that guides the Managed Care Organizations to reduce the time it takes to approve a request or process an appeal for Durable Medical Equipment (DME). Our survey identified this as a problem for many enrollees, showing that:

80% of respondents reported that they require the use of DME, yet 73% stated they did not receive a needed upgrade or replacement in a timely manner.

This change means enrollees will get their needed equipment faster or their appeal processed faster.

Thanks to the all the people who distributed the survey and the over 3,000 enrollees who shared their concerns and experiences. Together we can get Ohioans the care they need to lead healthier lives through an organized consumer voice. To join the coalition or learn more about what OCVIC is doing, contact John Arnold.

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