Ohio policy

Advocates push state to use more federal dollars for school-based health clinics

Ohio child advocacy groups and doctors are pushing for more state funding to add additional school-based health clinics in the state (Source: “Child advocacy groups, doctors want to see more state funding for school-based health clinics,” News 5 Cleveland, Oct. 20).

The Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio and other child advocacy groups are asking the state to allocate $25 million from the American Rescue Plan Act for the next two years to help set up clinics for additional districts in the state.

Ohio received about $5 billion from the federal government as part of the American Rescue Plan Act. So far, about $3 billion has yet to be allocated. According to the Treasury Department, funds must be incurred by Dec. 31, 2024.

New HPIO policy brief outlines ways for Ohio policymakers to take action to address addiction

The Health Policy Institute of Ohio has released a new policy brief, “Taking Action to Strengthen Ohio’s Addiction Response.”

The publication is the final brief in the HPIO Addiction Evidence Project and includes:

  • An update on where Ohio stands on addiction-related trends
  • A summary of Ohio’s addiction policy strengths, gaps, challenges and opportunities
  • A prioritized set of nine policy recommendations

Over the past 20 years, Ohioans have pulled together to address the complex challenges of addiction in unprecedented ways. Now, with pending opioid settlements on the horizon, there is an opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of Ohio’s efforts to date and plan for what should happen next.

The brief identifies the following as the most important addiction policy priorities to address:

  • Immediate: Save lives by ending fentanyl overdoses
  • Next 2 years: Reform the criminal justice system to support recovery and employment
  • Long term: Continue to strengthen Ohio’s prevention-treatment-recovery continuum

DeWine announces new vaccine incentive for ages 12 to 25

Ohioans age 12 to 25 will be eligible to win a $100,000 college scholarship for getting a COVID-19 vaccine shot, Gov. DeWine announced Thursday (Source: “'Vax-2-School': Ohioans age 12 to 25 can win $100,000 college scholarships for getting a COVID-19 vaccine,” Columbus Dispatch, Sept. 24).

Five $100,000 scholarships and 50 $10,000 scholarships will be given away over five days from Oct. 11 to 15, according to DeWine. The money can be used for college or vocational education.

People who have already been vaccinated will be eligible and will have to sign up for the drawing in advance, but that process has not yet been set up. The scholarships will be paid for with federal coronavirus relief money.

About 46% of Ohioans age 12 to 25 have been vaccinated compared to 84% of Ohioans age 65 and over. More than 32,000 K-12 students have tested positive or been diagnosed with COVID-19 this school year.

Ohio COVID hospitalizations triple this time last year, ODH director says

The Delta variant is continuing to drive an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations with the number of hospitalizations reported Wednesday in Ohio nearly triple the amount reported a year ago, Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said Thursday (Source: “Ohio’s daily COVID hospitalizations nearly triple vs. year ago, Vanderhoff says,” Dayton Daily News, Sept. 16).

On Wednesday, ODH reported 7,747 new daily cases of COVID and 292 daily hospitalizations. A year ago, on Sept. 15, 2020, the state reported just over 1,000 daily cases and 103 hospitalizations, he said.

“Even though about half of us today are well protected by vaccination, our daily hospitalizations are about triple what they were last year,” Vanderhoff said. “And the reason is simple. The Delta variant is aggressively seeking out anyone who lacks immunity and is making many of them very sick.”

Ohio, local goverments finalize $808M opioid settlement

Ohio and more than 140 local governments in the state have finalized an $808 million-plus settlement with the nation’s three largest pharmaceutical distributors and drugmaker Johnson & Johnson to settle lawsuits related to the companies’ role in the opioid epidemic, Attorney General Dave Yost announced Thursday (Source: “Ohio, local governments finalize $808M opioid settlement with four drug companies,” Cleveland.com, Sept. 16).

Ohio’s agreement is part of a larger $21 billion deal to settle lawsuits filed by more than 3,000 state and local governments against Johnson & Johnson, as well as drug distributors AmerisourceBergen, McKesson and Columbus-based Cardinal Health.

The drug companies have been accused of helping to make and/or distribute billions of opioid painkiller pills in recent years despite knowing they were being abused by addicts.

Yost, a Columbus Republican, said during an online news conference that the money will be paid out over the next 18 years. Under an agreement reached last year, 55% of Ohio’s settlement money will go to a foundation that will pay for addiction treatment programs. Another 30% will go to local governments; the remaining 15% will go to the state.

Ohio allows medical marijuana growers to expand operations

The Ohio Department of Commerce announced this week that Ohio's medical marijuana cultivators can request permission to expand their grow space (Source: “Ohio to allow medical marijuana growers to expand to meet demand, prepare for more dispensaries,” Cincinnati Enquirer, Sept. 15).

Expansion requests will be granted to businesses that have complied with rules and regulations, are already using the maximum amount of space allowed by the state and demonstrate a need to expand to keep up with demand.

The expansion process comes as the state plans to more than double the number of dispensaries to sell medical marijuana and after Akron-based cultivator Fire Rock Ltd. sued the state for failing to act on its February 2020 request to expand.

Ohio has licensed 20 cultivators who can grow up to 25,000 square feet of marijuana and 15 cultivators that can grow up to 3,000 square feet. State rules allow licensees to expand to 75,000 square feet and 9,000 square feet, respectively, but didn't outline a process for requesting expansion.

Ohio to push for reinstatement of Medicaid work requirement

Ohio will appeal a move by the Biden administration to rescind federal approval of a work requirement that the state wants to use to determine Medicaid eligibility, Gov. Mike DeWine announced Thursday (Source: “Ohio seeks to reinstate Medicaid work requirement in appeal to Biden administration move,” Columbus Dispatch, Sept. 9).

Attorney General Dave Yost filed a notice of appeal with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services weeks after the agency withdrew its approval for the "community engagement" requirement. The measure would require all new adult group beneficiaries under 50 years old to complete 80 hours per month of employment, education or job skills training.   

Federal officials approved Ohio's requirement under former President Trump in 2019, but the COVID-19 pandemic prevented it from going into effect this year. DeWine and other Republicans say it's necessary to encourage self-sufficiency and relieve the burden on taxpayers.

HPIO analysis identifies 12 strategies to prevent childhood trauma in Ohio

A new policy brief, “Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs): A strategic approach to prevent ACEs in Ohio,” identifies 12 cost-beneficial strategies that state leaders can use to prevent adverse childhood experiences.

Earlier analysis from HPIO’s Ohio ACEs Impact project found that more than one-third of Ohio adults (36%) reported exposure to two or more ACEs. And first-of-its-kind analysis by HPIO estimated that more than $10 billion in annual healthcare and related spending could be avoided in Ohio if exposure to ACEs was eliminated.

“ACEs are not inevitable and Ohioans are resilient,” the new report states. “Exposure to ACEs does not have to determine future hardship. There are strategies that state policymakers and others can deploy to prevent ACEs and safeguard the well-being of Ohio children and families who have experienced adversity and trauma.” 

The report also highlights steps Ohio’s public and private leaders can take to ensure that communities across the state are equipped to support children and families that are most at risk for experiencing adversity and trauma – including Ohioans of color and Ohioans with low incomes, disabilities and/or who live in urban and Appalachian areas.

COVID-19 booster shots could begin Sept. 20 in Ohio, ODH director says

Ohio Health Department Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said the state is getting ready to give booster shots for adults who received either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines starting as early as Sept. 20 (Source: “Ohio prepares to administer COVID-19 booster shots as early as Sept. 20,” Columbus Dispatch, Aug. 18). 

"This plan is still subject to the FDA’s evaluation and determination of the safety and effectiveness of a booster dose," Vanderhoff said. 

The news comes hours after the Biden administration announced it was asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to authorize a third shot for the general population. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the third shot for immunocompromised Americans last week as infections from the delta variant continue to rise. 

Vanderhoff said vaccines such as the COVID-19 shot aren't designed to provide indefinite immunity to infection. What they give people is "a reserve of cells" that protect against severe illness, hospitalization and death. 

"I’ll reiterate what I’ve said before. Protection against severe illness and death was the target of the vaccine," Vanderhoff said. 

Ohio nears $808 million opioid settlement

The state of Ohio took a major step forward this week in reaching a massive settlement deal with distributors sued over their role in the opioid epidemic (Source: “Ohio set to reach $808 million opioid settlement after more counties, cities sign on,” Columbus Dispatch, Aug. 19).

The "OneOhio" opioid settlement now has been agreed to by more than 99% of litigating local governments – 142 of the 143 entities said yes as of Wednesday – above the absolute minimum of 96% for any deal to be considered. The only holdout, Scioto County, can still sign onto the deal until this Friday at 5 p.m.

The 96% mark, while necessary, does not guarantee that the distributors will be paying out $808 million. The companies still need to sign off on it.

If the distributors – Dublin-based Cardinal Health; McKesson, based in Texas; and AmerisourceBergen, of Pennsylvania – do give approval, roughly 30% of the money would go to local communities, which then would be used for treatment and prevention programs for opioid addiction. Another 15% would go to Ohio for legal costs, and the rest would go to a foundation controlled by local government representatives.