Thursday, December 21, 2017

Self-Monitoring Blood Pressure to Improve Hypertension

Self-Monitoring Blood Pressure to Improve Hypertension

Hypertension is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. Even a small elevation in blood pressure can increase the risk for cardiovascular disease and mortality. The risk of death from ischemic heart disease and stroke doubles for every 20 mmHg increase in systolic blood pressure or 10 mmHg increase in diastolic blood pressure. Self-monitoring of blood pressure (SMBP), when combined with additional clinical support, is one strategy that can reduce the risk of disability or death due to high blood pressure, and has been shown to lead to better overall control. 

SMBP is the regular measurement of blood pressure by a patient at home or somewhere outside of the healthcare setting, using a personal measurement device. A recent article on the effectiveness of SMBP, stated that self-monitoring was associated with reduced clinic systolic blood pressure (sBP) compared to usual care at 12 months, and was most effective in those with fewer anti-hypertensive medications and higher baseline sBP up to 170 mmHg. 

When engaging your patients in self-monitoring activities, it is important to make sure that your patients feel comfortable with the process and that they know what steps to take, including seeking emergency treatment, if they have a blood pressure reading that is outside the pre-determined acceptable range, or if they experience symptoms with a high or low blood pressure reading. This guidance to your patient should be individualized by the clinician and reinforced by clinical staff at the initiation of any SMBP. Your patients should also be communicating the home measurements with their provider’s office to be most effective. This can be done using the telephone, patient portal, or an in person follow-up visit. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Million Hearts have provided a guide detailing Action Steps for Clinicians to facilitate the implementation of SMBP including how to prepare care teams to implement SMBP with patients, how to empower patients, and additional clinical and educational support. 

Million Hearts/ CDC Action Steps for Clinicians

Uhlig K, Balk EM, Patel K, et al. Self-measured blood pressure monitoring: comparative effectiveness. Comparative effectiveness review no. 45 (prepared by the Tufts Evidence-based Practice Center under Contract No. HHSA 290-2007- 10055-I.) AHRQ Publication No. 12-EHC002-EF. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. January 2012.  

Blood Pressure. Murakami L and Rakotz M. Self-measured Blood Pressure Monitoring Program: Engaging Patients in Self-measurement. 1st ed. Daniel D and Prall M, eds. American Medical Association and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; February 2015.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Preferred Benefits Services Employee Benefits

Enhance your employee benefits package through the OACHC! 

  • 25% rate reduction to your current Basic Life program
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP) with four face-to-face visits included at no charge
  • Higher guarantee issue limits and plan maximums on Voluntary Life
  • Reduced employee costs for Voluntary Life
  • Spouse and child(ren) benefits available 
  • No requirement to offer a new open enrollment period 
  • April 1, 2018 effective date

For more information, contact: 
Brian Lenzo 
Group Benefits Specialist

Preferred Benefits Services, Inc.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Have you gotten your flu shot?

National Influenza Vaccination Week

This week highlights the importance of getting your influenza vaccination. Flu season peaks between December and February but can last well into May! Each year, hundreds of thousands of people get the flu and many are even hospitalized. 
"While the impact of flu varies, it places a substantial burden on the health of people in the United States each year. CDC estimates that influenza has resulted in between 9.2 million and 60.8 million illnesses, between 140,000 and 710,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000 and 56,000 deaths annually since 2010." - Centers for Disease Control 

The flu is a highly contagious respiratory infection. Those who are most at risk of contracting the flu are:
  • individuals 65 or older           
  • pregnant women
  • kids
  • people with asthma, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, or cancer

For this flu season, it is recommended that you only get the flu shot to be sure that you are safe from the flu. However, other preventative measures you can take to stay healthy this winter include:
  • avoiding close contact with sick people
  • if you have flu-like symptoms, stay home for at least 24 hours
  • cover your nose and mouth when sneezing
  • ALWAYS wash your hands! If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol based hand-sanitizer.
For more information, click here!

To learn how you can spread more information about National Influenza Vaccination Week and information about the flu in general, go to the CDC's Influenza page here!

To find out where you can get a flu vaccine, go to 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Project ECHO: ECHO Autism Collaborative

What is ECHO Autism?

  • A series of virtual learning sessions for medical providers facilitated by autism and behavior experts
  • An innovative system that allows professionals to:
    • Increase confidence in identifying and treating autism symptoms
    • Expand knowledge about behavioral treatments
    • Participate in an Autism Intervention Research Network Project

How will ECHO Autism help me?

  • Regular, convenient access to Nationwide Children's Hospital experts:
    • Developmental Behavioral Pediatrician
    • Child and Adolescent Psychologist
    • Registered Dietitian
    • Resource Navigator-Parent Advocate/Educator
  • Increase knowledge about:
    • Evidence-based practices for screening and treatment of autism
    • Common medical and behavioral concerns in children with autism through case-based training
    • Local programs and resources that may be of benefit to families
  • Improve care for your patients in your own practice with the support of local autism experts

How does ECHO Autism AR work?

  • Meets for two hours via web technology, twice a month for 6 months
  • 2 CME credits per clinic provided at no cost
  • Discuss complex cases in YOUR practice in real-time with experts

What do I need to get started?

  • Internet access
  • A front-facing camera on smartphone, tablet, or computer/webcam

Please keep a look out for upcoming information sessions via Zoom Video Communications

Join our team to bring the best autism care to primary care!

Nationwide Children's Hospital

For more information please contact:
Natalie Ritter
Research Coordinator | Child Development Center | 

Nationwide Children's Hospital
187 West Schrock Road | Westerville, OH 43081
P: 614.355.7575 E:

Project ECHO: ECHO Autism Collaborative

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is a special time when friends and family all come together to spend some quality time, enjoy each other’s company and give thanks. Every year, my family, friends and I like to give thanks in a multitude of ways. We also enjoy a healthy activity. We start the day off with a 10k so we unstuff before we stuff and are still able to donate to a charitable cause!” – Lauren Husein, Communication & Events Coordinator at OACHC 

Check out some Thanksgiving themed races near you:

If running isn't your thing, but you still want to give thanks in another way, there are so many food pantries in need of volunteers and donations. To find one near you, go to 

Thanksgiving dinner is something I personally look forward to ALL YEAR LONG! At the same time, its so easy to get carried away with trying 5 different kinds of stuffing, 7 different pies and oh the mashed potatoes and gravy. Yessss! For healthy ideas and alternatives to some of the classic foods, here are a few suggestions:

Wanna try something totally new this year and have a new tradition? Here are a few ideas:
  • Taking a walk after dinner
  • Take time for yourself before and after dinner
  • Have everyone write their "thanks" on a tablecloth
  • Travel somewhere 
  • Create a cookbook
  • Anything that gets your whole group (no matter the size!) involved.

So, from our family to yours, have a happy and healthy holiday!

Thursday, November 9, 2017


Welcome Our Newest Partner Midway Dental Supply, Inc.

Midway Dental Supply is an independent dental supply company that services Indiana, Michigan and Northeastern Illinois. The company began in 1984 with the objective to provide exceptional customer service while building personal relationships with our customers. Midway Dental Supply is a family-owned, full-service dental distributor servicing the dental professional in every aspect of his or her business. Whether you are looking to setup a new dental practice, redesign an existing building, or simply purchase your weekly supplies, Midway Dental Supply can fulfill your needs. Questions? Contact Patrick Blanc

Learn more at  

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Generation Rx Grant Opportunities Now Available to Ohio Community Health Centers

The Cardinal Health Foundation is pleased to announce three new Generation Rx requests for proposals, targeting four of the states that have been especially hard hit by the opioid epidemic. We invite you to review these grant opportunities, and apply for one or more to address the needs in your community. Applications are due January 12, 2018.

To learn more about the grants, register for a webinar and dowload RFPs, click here.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

American Diabetes Month

November is American Diabetes Month

With Halloween just passing us by, and Thanksgiving being around the corner, its time we all take a step back and make sure we are making healthy choices each and everyday. According to, one in 10 Americans have diabetes, which is more than 30 million people. And, 84 million adults in the US are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Those who do not keep diabetes under control can be at risk of getting nerve damage, blindness and other disabilities. However, by incorporating daily exercise and healthy eating, these risks can be lowered in half. 

Those who suffer from type one diabetes, are often diagnosed when they are children and 40,000 new Americans are diagnosed each year. People who suffer from this form of diabetes can still maintain a healthy lifestyle by blood glucose control and insulin management, exercise, and good nutrition. 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Thanks for attending FC 2017!

2017 Fall Operations Conference

Thank you for attending this years fall conference! With 350 attendees, speakers, exhibitors and staff, this was one of the largest fall conferences ever. If you have not yet checked into the app for CME's and CPE's, you have until Friday afternoon to do so! Please send us a message on the app if you need assistance or email and we will help you get checked into the app.

OACHC would ike to thank our Corporate Partners and Conference Sponsors for making this event possible!

For pictures from some of the sessions, reception and fun moments of the conference, visit our Facebook page here!

Our annual conference will be March 5th through 7th at the Polaris Hilton! We hope to see you there!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Health Literacy Month

Where does health literacy live in your community health center?

Finding out where health literacy lives in your community health center is like asking someone why the sky is blue.  Questions like this can be confusing and unclear. That same confusion can be applied to the concept of health literacy. It is time to uncover the truth about health literacy as we celebrate its journey during the month of October for Health Literacy Month. Together we can find its rightful place in your four walls and beyond.

Healthy People 2020 defines health literacy as “the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, communicate, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.” Regardless of age, race, socio-economic status, or education level ALL people will experience confusion regarding health care at some point in their life; whether it be as a parent trying to decipher their child’s new medical diagnosis, a person who is newly covered by insurance for the first time, or as an older adult who has pill box to help to manage their daily medication.  

Here are some significant impacts on the healthcare system regarding health literacy:

It is estimated that nearly half of American adults, 90 million people, have only basic or below-basic health literacy skills and have difficulty understanding and acting on health information.
Persons with limited health literacy skills have higher utilization of treatment services including hospitalization and emergency services and lower utilization of preventive services. 
They incur medical expenses that are up to four times greater than patients with adequate health literacy skills. 
The estimated added annual cost to the health care system due to low health literacy is $106-$238 billion.

Are you still thinking about how to determine where health lives in your community health center?  Maybe even thinking about which individual should take on yet another hat?  You will need to buy a lot of hats because EVERYONE in your organization can make an impact a patient’s ability to obtain and retain health information. In honor of Health Literacy Month, take on a new challenge by having each department share a strategy for how they can make an impact regarding health literacy.  Here are some ideas to get you started:
Hold a cooking on class for health eating for diabetic patients
Rework patient education materials using plain language techniques
Conduct an environment review (or walkthrough) to identify literacy-related barriers
Assess the pharmacy’s communication style with patients
Try to complete the paperwork expected of a new patient (one that has never sought care before)
As safety-net providers health centers play a significant role in helping to bridge the communication gap for vulnerable patients. Download The Institute of Medicine Roundtable on Health Literacy’s Ten Attributes of Health Literate Health Care Organizations to start incorporating health literacy concepts today! 
Learn about health literacy in Ohio with Ohio Health Literacy Partners. Join the conversation at OHLP’s newly launched Facebook page.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Breast Cancer Awareness

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast Cancer is a group of diseases that both men and women can succumb to. It affects the breast tissue and although it is more commonly diagnosed in women, more than 2,400 men will be diagnosed with this disease this year. Breast Cancer is the leading cause of death for women and over 250,000 cases will be diagnosed in women this year! Although cancer cannot always be prevented, leading a healthy lifestyle, performing self checks and getting mammograms when necessary can help with early detection. According to the CDC, The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends that average-risk women who are 50 to 74 years old should have a screening mammogram every two years. Average-risk women, who are 40 to 49 years old, should talk to their doctor about when to start and how often to get a screening mammogram. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month! For more information on Breast Cancer and to learn how you can spread awareness:


Thursday, September 28, 2017

World Alzheimer's Awareness Month

Every 33 seconds, someone in the United States will be diagnosed.

Do you remember, when it was last September? For an estimated 5.5 million Americans, this may be something that they cannot. Alzheimer's Disease can affect people with dementia and often times, these individuals are 65 or older. In fact, 1 in 10 people 65 years or older has Alzheimer's. Many people are unaware of how severe this disease is, but 200,000 people under 65 in the US have also been diagnosed.  September 21st was World Alzheimer's Day and all of September is World Alzheimer's Awareness Month. To learn more information about the disease and how you can get involved in spreading awareness, please visit the CDC's  website:

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Fruits, Veggies and More!

More Matters Month!

Did you know that one in three children in the US is overweight or considered obese? Childhood obesity is a serious issue and can cause health problems for individuals later in life. These health issues include type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. By incorporating a healthier lifestyle these diseases can be prevented! Becoming more active and having a healthier diet are excellent ways to encourage your friends and family to become more healthy. With September being Child Obesity Awareness Month as well as Fruits and Veggies - More Matters Month, here are some tips:

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

National Suicide Prevention Week

September means suicide prevention

September 10th was World Suicide Prevention day. And, this whole week, September 10th through September 16th is National Suicide Prevention Week. Each year, more than 800,000 people die by suicide and up to 25 times as many make a suicide attempt. Many of us have been affected by such a tragic situation but, with IASP's theme, "Take a minute, change a life" we can all help someone who may be struggling. 

If you or someone you know is having a hard time coping with a difficult situation, here are some resources you can use:

  • National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Thursday, September 7, 2017

2017 Fall Operations Conference!

Don't miss out! You'll fall for our conference!

If you enjoy the changing of the leaves, the crisp October air, learning new information and networking, then you won't want miss our 2017 Fall Operations Conference. This 2 day conference will begin on Thursday, October 19th and conclude on Friday, October 20th. Our Fall Operations Conference features two keynote speakers and many breakout sessions. Ample networking time, both structured and informal, will be provided for you to connect with your colleagues from around the state.  Our reception Thursday evening is a must attend, fun-filled two hours complete with refreshments.  Don't miss this opportunity for CHC focused education and networking! REGISTER NOW!

Our Closing Keynote speaker, Seiji Hayashi

He is the Director of Medicine at the Human Diagnosis Project and will be presenting on an in-demand topic: Mission Impossible: Why the health center mission is not enough to sustain your staff. Please stay Friday and learn more!


Nationwide Hotel and Conference Center
100 Green Meadows Drive South
Lewis Center, Ohio 43035


Our 2017 Fall Conference is a must for Federally Qualified Community Health Center leaders and employees, as well as, those interesting in becoming a FQHC or LookAlike.  CEOs, other administrative roles, CFOs other finance roles, CMOs other clinical roles, COOs, other operations roles, Human Resource and Workforce professionals, CACs, other outreach professionals, Quality Professionals, Health Center Board Members, Practioners of all levels including primary care, behavioral health and anyone who wants to learn more about, and get ahead in, the world of Federally Qualified Community Health care.


The Fall Operations Conference features tracks of focus in the operations of a health center.  Specifically, the conference will be featuring a multitude of sessions! There will be a broad range of sessions that will appeal to health center administrators, quality improvement and human resources. SEE THE FULL AGENDA HERE, AND MAKE YOUR OWN SCHEDULE!


OACHC offers three types of continuing education for this conference.  In order to receive credit you must check into the session via our conference app or sign in with the session moderator should you choose to not use the app.

Continuing Education transcripts will be available for download from the conference app for 30 days following the event, please email for assistance.  

CME Credits
This Live activity, 2017 Fall Operations Conference, with a beginning date of 10/19/17, is being reviewed for Prescribed credit(s) by the American Academy of Family Physicians. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

CPE Credits

Certificate of Attendance
You may also request attendance credit if you would like a formal record of the sessions you attended.


Our app can be used a number of ways! You can use download it in your Apple or Android store by just typing in "OACHC." Or, you can visit the app's website at 
If you would like to access CEU certificates, this is the only way you will be able to obtain them. We will have an app station this year at the conference as well too if you need assistance with the app.


If you would like to access the app via the web, go to 

Interested in exhibiting? There are only a few booths left! For more information and to register, go to our website at: 


Friday, August 25, 2017

SBIRT Training of Trainers

CareSource is Offering Free SBIRT Training

Join CareSource for a free Training-of-Trainers course to become a Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) trainer.

This training is intended for individuals who have had Ohio SBIRT Implementation training which is also listed below. The Training of Trainers and Implementation trainings are both free and each course includes up to 6 free CEUs.

Location: CareSource Headquarters, 230 N. Main St, Dayton, OH 45402

Trainer: Debra Scholten, LPC, CRC, SBIRT Training Officer

Learn More and Register by contacting:
Sherron Jefferson, Senior Administrative Assistance with CareSource @ 614-255-4620 or

SBIRT Implementation Training
Dates: October 16, 2017
Time: 8:30am-4:30pm

Dates: November 8, 2017
Time: 8:30am-4:30pm

Stay tuned for Columbus and Cleveland trainings!

Friday, August 18, 2017

National Health Center Week and the Ultimate Health Center Champs!


Thank you to everyone who participated in the contest! The winners will be announced tonight! It is great to see the outpouring of support for Ohio's Community Health Centers! Keep up the good work!


As NHCW17 comes to an end we want to say it was great to see all of the events that happened and that are currently happening. This week is such a great way to raise awareness and bring our communities together! Visit our Facebook page see the events OACHC have attended!


Register three or more people for the 2017 Fall Conference by tomorrow (the end of National Health Center Week) and use the promo code "NHCW" to get an additional discount. Visit

Monday, August 7, 2017

Recruitment. Retention. Revenue.

Success Factors for Growth and ROI

Sustainable growth requires recruitment strategies, programs and tools that work. When leadership makes recruitment and retention a priority, the return on investment is measurable!

Join us at the OACHC 2017 Fall Operations Conference:

Thursday, October 19th | 11:00 am – 12:15 pm
“Recruitment, Retention, Revenue: Critical Success Factors for Growth and ROI”
Tim Sheley, Executive Vice President

Register For the 2017 Fall Operations Conference Today!

More Hot Topics: 

*Jackson Physician Search is a Platinum Corporate Partner of OACHC

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

OACHC's Ultimate Health Center Champions Contest

Join us for a little friendly competition to highlight Ohio's Community Health Centers during National Health Center Week - and shine the light on all the great work you do each and every day!
All of Ohio's Health Center networks are eligible to participate. Centers have been divided into three divisions:

  • Heavyweight (>16,000 patients annually)
  • Welterweight (7,000 - 15,999 patients annually)
  • Featherweight (<7,000 patients annually)
You will be able to share this contest with your patients, employees, and community to get as many votes for your health center as possible. Each person can vote once per day from August 1st to August 17th


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A Spotlight on QI Success!

Muskingum Valley Health Centers

When looking at Muskingum Valley Health Center’s (MVHC’s) Colorectal Cancer Screening outcomes, many ask, “What are they doing over there?!?”. Like many of you, we wondered what they were doing to achieve such success in this measure and therefore we interviewed them to gather some clues. We hope that what we share will encourage and inspire you as well.

In the first quarter of 2015, Jeanie Blake, RN, Chief Quality Officer at MVHC, noted their Colorectal Screening rate was 17.14%. So she gathered all of their Care Coordinators to just be “more cognizant” about asking about colonoscopies and making sure they document it in the proper locations in their Health Maintenance Module.

After a few months of these minimal efforts, they again pulled their reports and the screening rate was up to 24%. In their eyes, this was not much better and so they called the staff together again. This time they called all their care coordinators (they have 12) together and they began to brainstorm about how to solve this problem. Together they decided that they would purchase Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) kits and alter their visit procedures. MVHC had established a Patient Care Charitable fund and decided to utilize those funds to purchase the FIT tests. Moving forward, the Care Coordinators decided to pull each day’s schedule the day before and “flag” any patient who might be eligible for colorectal cancer screening. They would then review the chart to see if they had a documented screening and then offer the FIT kit to the patient when they came in for their visit. They would discuss the benefits and how to use the test and then follow-up with them to make sure they returned their kits.

At the end of 2015, MVHC reported their Colorectal Cancer Screening outcomes to UDS as 50.59%. The team continued to refine their processes and in 2016 they reported their UDS measure rate as 77.67%. As of Quarter 1 or 2017, their rates are still high at 75%.

The MVHC has already seen some incredible patient results that have motivated the staff and encouraged them to continue their efforts. Mrs. A, a female patient in her late 60s took the FIT kit home just a few months ago and then returned the kit. The patient was found to have advanced colon cancer and went through surgery and treatment shortly after and survived the episode. This finding really helped the staff see that what they were doing was worthwhile and life-saving!


We asked Jeanie what her key take-aways from this project and she outlined the following:
•    Pick 1-2 areas to focus on and devote yourself to improving them
•    Make small changes and see if it works
•    One-on-one, personal interaction is key
•    Involve frontline staff in brainstorming
•    Acknowledge/look for successes to build motivation
•    Invest in care coordination staff

Health Center Details:

Name/Location: Muskingum Valley Health Centers, Zanesville, Ohio
Provider Productivity Goals: 2.675 patients/hour for MDs, 2.25 pts/hr for NPs/Pas
Staffing Model: 1 provider with a “roomer” (MA), a “discharge nurse” (LPN), and shares a Care Coordinator with another provider.
Sites/Volume: 4 sites, 100,000 visits per year
EMR: Epic

Blog Post Provided by Kyle Vath & Jeanie Blake of Muskingum Valley Health Centers

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Need AHA Certification?

Great Lakes CPR, LLC is is an authorized American Heart Association® (AHA) Training Site located in Sandusky, OH that provides in-house training to healthcare facilities, industrial companies and private citizens who need Basic Life Support, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, or Bloodborne Pathogens training.

AHA courses for the following certifications:

  • BLS® for Healthcare Provider
  • Heartsaver® CPR / AED & First Aid
  • Heartsaver® Pediatric CPR / AED & First Aid
  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support® for Heathcare providers
  • Pediatric Advanced Cardiac Life Support® for Heathcare Providers
  • Heartsaver® Bloodborne Pathogens
  • HeartCode® Classroom Skills Testing
Learn More Here

Thursday, July 6, 2017

House Overrides 11 Vetoes – Medicaid Enrollment Freeze NOT One of Them!

Thursday morning, July 6th, the Ohio House of Representatives issued 11 veto overrides, and we are pleased to announce the freeze of Medicaid expansion enrollment was NOT one of them. 

To recap, the Ohio General Assembly included in the final version of the state biennial budget (HB 49) a provision to freeze enrollment in Group VIII, commonly known as the Medicaid expansion population, as of July 1, 2018. According to the Office of Health Transformation, in addition to freezing new enrollment come July 1, this provision would strip 500K currently enrolled Ohioans of their coverage within 18 months of implementation. This loss of coverage is a result of Ohioans currently enrolled in Medicaid who cycle off and on for a multitude of reasons, including seasonal work, working more hours temporarily or earning additional wages for a period of time, paperwork, process issues etc.

On June 30th, Governor Kasich vetoed this provision, striking it from HB 49.  House and Senate leadership publicly discussed bringing their chambers back to override this veto.  Because a vote to override a Governor’s veto must begin in the chamber of which the legislation was originated – in this case, it was the House – all eyes were on the Ohio House of Representatives this morning as the chamber gathered to override 11 vetoes.  To put this in context a bit, there have only been 3 veto overrides in the last 27 years, and none up to this point on any of Governor Kasich’s vetoes. 

Hands down, without a doubt, because of your advocacy and tremendous grassroots efforts – emails, phone calls, strong social media presence, Statehouse meetings, district meetings, town halls, and the Statehouse Rally, OACHC is pleased to announce the Medicaid enrollment freeze WAS NOT BROUGHT UP FOR AN OVERRRIDE VOTE, and as such, this provision stays out of the bill and will not become law…at least for now!

The House concluded their voting session, stating all remaining vetoes – including the freeze - are left pending.  This means anytime between now and the end of this General Assembly (December 31, 2018) the House could bring this issue back up.  We live to fight another day!

We may not be completely out of the woods, but for today we should celebrate this success! Community Health Center advocates absolutely deserve a HUGE pat on the back for their strong and ever present leadership, as do our legislators who stood up and raised their voices with their colleagues to at a minimum, delay this vote, if not, lay it to rest completely. 

Great job Community Health Center advocates!  Please join us in thanking legislators who supported our efforts by retweeting and sharing our social media posts on Facebook and Twitter .

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

State Budget Process Advocate Primer

Understanding the state budget process is important as advocates strategize when, where and how to lend their voices for the causes they care most about. Lately, Community Health Center advocates have been asked to take action on many issues and have continued to rise to the occasion. While we must keep pressure up on the federal issues impacting health centers, we cannot lose sight of the significant state issues too.

This blog post gives advocates a chronological state budget timeline at-a-glance.

  •     February 8, 2017: Governor Kasich introduced the Executive Budget (HB 49)
  •     May 2, 2017: Ohio House passed Substitute House Bill 49 
  •     June 21, 2017: Ohio Senate passed an Amended HB 49
  •     June 27, 2017: Conference Committee released its report
  •     June 28, 2017: House and Senate expected to agree to the Conference Committee Report – this is an up or down vote, no opportunity to amend.
  •     June 30, 2017: Governor will issue his line-item vetoes of HB 49 and sign the legislation into law (the General Assembly can override a line-item veto by three-fifths majority vote of each house)

For policy wonks that want the full, “deep-dive” budget process, we suggest reading the full text of the Legislative Services Commission Guidebook.

Where are we in the process?

As it rests right now, House Bill 49 as delivered to the Governor proposes the following:
  1.     “Trigger” the termination of state funding to provide coverage to Group VIII should the federal government change its level of funding provided to states; 
  2.     Freeze enrollment in Group VIII, commonly known as the Medicaid expansion population, as of July 1, 2018. Estimates show a 72% reduction in coverage for current Group VIII enrollees within 18 months; 
  3.     Require the Ohio Department of Medicaid to re-submit the Healthy Ohio waiver- a waiver that was rejected by CMS in 2015; and 
  4.     Require individuals covered by Medicaid via expansion to be working or in school, unless they fall into one of three narrow exemption categories.  The philosophy espoused in the language does not recognize those who are actively seeking work or those on a waiting list for an alcohol or drug treatment program.

What’s next?

Upon acceptance by the House and Senate of the HB 49 Conference Committee Report, OACHC intends to issue a letter to the Governor, outlining our concerns with the above issues and encouraging him to veto these specific line provisions. Once Governor Kasich issues his line-item vetoes and signs the budget bill into law, the legislature has the remainder of the General Assembly to bring up a vote to override a veto.  Stay tuned.