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UHCAN Ohio Staff, Partners Testify before House Healthcare Efficiencies Committee

At two September hearings of the Ohio House Healthcare Efficiencies Committee, UHCAN Ohio urged Committee members to increase Ohio’s investment in population health, expand the dental team, and create a committee to study youth drug use.

At the September 8th hearing at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Kathleen Gmeiner, Project Director of Somebody Finally Asked Me!, urged the General Assembly to support a tool called Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) in schools to avert the costly results of youth experimentation with alcohol and drugs. “If the Ohio General Assembly desires to bring greater efficiencies into health care in Ohio, it could leverage significant cost savings by addressing the problem of drug and alcohol use by increasing its investment in prevention and early intervention, particularly the use of SBIRT.”

She urged the committee to recommend the creation of a study committee on youth drug use, the passage of a resolution supporting SBIRT, and an appropriation of funding to support the training of school professionals to administer SBIRT in middle and high schools. 

At the September 22nd hearing at Mercy Health in Fairfield, Cathy Levine, Executive Director of UHCAN Ohio, addressed the need for consumer input in health innovations, stating, “Ohioans have a huge stake in achieving better care and improved population health, and, therefore, structured involvement of consumers is critical to the success of improvement efforts.” She said that “innovations” should not put more obstacles in the way of patients’ obtaining the right care at the right time, and advocated for the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) model of care. 

She also addressed Ohio’s need to increase its investment in population health, which she said requires a shift from “sick care” to a “culture of health… This requires shifting health care spending into prevention and evidence-based population health strategies at the policy, public education, and neighborhood/personal level.”

Also at this hearing, David Maywhoor, Project Director of Dental Access Now!, raised the issue of the lack of dental access in the state of Ohio, naming it the “number one unmet health need for children and low-income adults.” He called on the General Assembly to “modernize our dental practice laws to expand the dental care team to include ‘dental therapist’ to provide preventive and routine dental care.”

Amy Kinnamon, President of the Ohio Dental Hygienists Association, jointly testified in support of modernizing Ohio’s scope of practice laws for dental hygienists and to expand the dental team to include dental therapists, stating, “We believe that increased access to care does not mean a lower standard of care, but the utilization of a workforce degreed and licensed at a national standard determined by the Commission on Dental Accreditation.”