As a former mental health professional, Ted Strickland knows the responsibilities and challenges facing Ohio’s health care providers and has worked to institute a common sense approach to regulation and practice that both continues to protect patients and allows providers to deliver better care.
Implemented Medicaid in Schools. In 2008, Governor Strickland implemented the Medicaid Schools Program to provide Medicaid reimbursements for services delivered to children in schools. Nearly 600 school districts and charter schools enrolled in the program, and approximately 383 school districts submitted and are receiving Medicaid reimbursement for services provided to approximately 43,842 Ohio children. [Ohio Department of Job and Family Services; Ohio Department of Education]
Successfully Sought Funding for Electronic Health Records Support. Governor Strickland successfully sought resources from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help the State support health care providers’ move to electronic health records. The public-private Ohio Health Information Partnership, established by Strickland in 2007, received $43.3 million to set up a web-based system that would allow hospitals, doctors, imaging centers and ambulatory centers to share medical records for patients. [Columbus Dispatch, 2/16/2010; Executive Order 2007-30S]
Established the Ohio Health Care Coverage and Quality Council. In 2009, Governor Strickland created the Ohio Health Care Coverage and Quality Council with members from the medical field, insurance companies, consumers and regulators to advise the governor and General Assembly on the state of Ohio’s health care systems. The Council was charged with identifying barriers to expanding health care access, strategizing to improve the quality of care and coverage, and recommending improvements to insurance data collection. [HB 1, 7/17/2009]
Implemented a Single Drug Formulary that Benefits Patients and Providers. In 2010, Governor Strickland implemented a single drug formulary for Medicaid, which benefits patients and health care providers by reducing administrative difficulties increasing access to appropriate treatments. The single formulary replaced eight existing managed-care pharmacy plans and is estimated to save Ohio $243.6 million. [Ohio Department of Job and Family Services; Columbus Dispatch, 4/15/2010
Signed Ohio’s ‘Health Care Simplification Act’. In 2008, Governor Strickland signed into law Ohio’s ‘Health Care Simplification Act’ to help provide administrative relief to Ohio’s health care providers. [HB 125, 6/25/2008]
Through insurance industry reforms and Medicaid expansions, Strickland also worked to make affordable health care accessible to all Ohioans. Increased access to care allows health care providers to deliver services to Ohioans who need care, increases the quality of care through the more timely delivery of services, and avoids costs by reducing the need for urgent and emergency services.
Expanded Access to Affordable Health Care to Adults. In 2009, Governor Strickland signed into law health insurance reforms that required Ohio insurance companies to cover more adults with pre-existing conditions, allowed children to be covered under their parents’ health plan until age 28, and allowed employees to purchase health insurance with pre-tax dollars to help offset premium prices. The Ohio Department of Insurance estimated that these reforms will expand access to 109,000* more Ohioans. [HB 1, 7/17/2009; Ohio Department of Insurance]
Expanded Health Care Access for Ohio’s Children. In 2007, Governor Strickland signed legislation to expand access to affordable health care for all Ohio children. The measures expanded eligibility for SCHIP and implemented a buy-in program so that parents of children not eligible for SCHIP could obtain health care at an affordable rate. Strickland won approval from the federal government to initiate these programs, but the resources to implement one portion that would have provided children’s health care for families between 200-300 percent of the poverty level were frozen in litigation until December 2010, when the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the governor and legislature could utilize dollars previously earmarked for tobacco prevention to pay for children’s health care programs. [HB 119, 6/30/2007.]
Covered More Expectant Mothers. Governor Strickland expanded coverage for pregnant women by increasing the Medicaid threshold from 150 percent of the federal poverty level to 200 percent. From July 2008 to November 2010, 17,986 additional expectant mothers were enrolled in Medicaid as a direct result of Governor Strickland’s expansion. [HB 119, 6/30/2007; Ohio Department of Job and Family Services]
Expanded Medicaid Access to Former Foster Children. In 2007, Governor Strickland signed legislation that made young adults, under the age of 21, who have aged out of foster care eligible to enroll in Medicaid. From January 2008 through November 2010, 337 young adults were directly enrolled in this expansion. Many other young adults aged out of foster care who could have qualified for this program were instead found eligible for and enrolled in other Medicaid programs. [HB 119, 6/30/2007; Ohio Department of Insurance]
Established a Medicaid Buy-In to Help Thousands of Disabled Ohioans Go Back to Work. In 2007, Governor Strickland established a Medicaid Buy-In program to allow people with disabilities to gain access to health care even as they worked outside their homes. Strickland raised income and asset thresholds to allow disabled Ohioans to work without the fear of losing Medicaid coverage. Between April 2008 and November 2010, 9,362 people were participating in the program. [HB 119, 6/30/2007; Ohio Department of Job and Family Services]
Maintained Medicaid Coverage for 2.1 Million Ohioans. Despite the worst economic times since the Great Depression, Governor Strickland responsibly managed Ohio’s budget to maintain Medicaid coverage for 2.1 million Ohioans. [Ohio Department of Job and Family Services]
Made Ohio the First State to Join Campaign to Enroll Every SCHIP Eligible Child. In March 2010, Governor Strickland announced that Ohio would become the first state to join a federal campaign with the goal of enrolling every eligible but uninsured child in the state’s SCHIP program within the next five years. Ohio implemented five program changes to children obtaining and retaining health care coverage through Medicaid.
As a result of this challenge from the Obama Administration ,Strickland committed to the goal to enroll the 77,000 uninsured Ohio children that were eligible for SCHIP according to the 2008 Family Health Survey. [Columbus Dispatch, 3/12/2010] Since that survey was completed, the economic downturn has resulted in more Ohioans being eligible for Medicaid. On December 27, 2010, the CMS announced that Ohio’s overall Medicaid enrollment of children increased by 92,503, or 9 percent above the 2010 baseline. Ohio will receive a bonus of $12,376,346.
* estimates are based on state health care and insurance reforms and were calculated prior to passage of the federal Affordable Care Act.