Ohio political briefs – June 16


BROWN APPLAUDS PLAN TO END MEDICARE POLICY – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) applauded a recommendation by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) that Congress should “revise the skilled nursing facility three-inpatient day hospital eligibility requirement” to ensure coverage of Medicare beneficiaries’ skilled nursing stays even if a patient was admitted under “observation status.” Currently, a Medicare beneficiary must have an “inpatient” hospital stay of at least three days in order for Medicare to pay for post-hospitalization skilled nursing care. Patients that receive hospital care on “observation status” are left to pay for skilled nursing care, even if their hospitalization lasts longer than three days.

“When seniors are hospitalized, they should never be worried about whether or not they’ll be able to afford skilled nursing care after their hospital stay,” said Brown. “For too long, many seniors have been hit with unexpected costs because they didn’t know if they were hospitalized under observation status. Today’s recommendation from MedPAC to revise this policy is wonderful news for seniors who’ve been sacked with these out-of-pocket costs. My bill would make sure seniors can receive the care they need without worrying about whether that care will be covered by Medicare.”

PREVENT BLINDNESS BACKS PORTMAN – The Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness was among the organizations meeting with United States Senator, Rob Portman, on June 12 to witness his acceptance of the “Medicare Part D Patient Access Champion Award”. Senator Portman has provided leadership in Congress to protect Medicare Part D on behalf of mission of American seniors and their families.

The Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit has helped millions of seniors, including those who depend on eye medications to curb the advancement of vision loss. Life with healthy vision is the key to independence and mobility and saves the economy billions annually in nursing home admissions and expensive medical treatment for falls which are in part attributed to poor vision in some victims.

As people age, the risk for vision impairment and vision loss grows. Because some vision-threatening conditions are not readily noticeable, it is important that seniors preserve their vision by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and having an eye exam through dilated pupil every 1-2 years or as recommended by their eye doctor. Half of all blindness can be prevented through early detection and treatment.

Medicare beneficiaries, especially those at risk for or diagnosed with a variety of diseases, are entitled to a number of vision-related services. It is especially important for people with diabetes, a family history of glaucoma, or those who have suffered an eye disease or injury to be aware of and utilize these benefits.

FAMILY ADVOCACY DAY SET – One local family is taking their story to Capitol Hill to deliver an important message to their members of Congress. Nationwide Children’s Hospital patient, Jack Baker, 2 and his family will join nearly 50 other pediatric patients and their families to meet with members of Congress and share their personal health experiences as part of the 2015 Children’s Hospital Association’s Family Advocacy Day, taking place June 15-16 in Washington, D.C.

Every 20 minutes, a baby was born addicted to legal or illegal drugs and alcohol in the United States in 2009, an increase from every hour in 2000, according to a research study published earlier this year in The New England Journal of Medicine . Unfortunately, Jack, too, was born dependent on drugs in October of 2012 and that is why the Baker family will travel to Washington D.C., to help support the “Protecting Our Infants Act of 2015,” which is backed by Congressman Steve Stivers (Ohio’s 15th Congressional District). The legislation, introduced March 19, focuses on combatting the rise of prenatal opioid abuse and Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). By concentrating on women of childbearing age, pregnant women and infants from preconception through early childhood, the act will encourage the development of a thorough strategy and coordination of Federal efforts, supported by extensive research and data, to better serve women and children in this demographic.

Shortly after his birth, Jack began experiencing symptoms of NAS and spent 22 days in The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.Upon discharge, Jack quickly benefitted from The Fostering Connections Program, a specialized foster care clinic providing a medical home at The Center for Family Safety and Healing at Nationwide Children’s. Overall, the care and support Jack and his adoptive family have received at Nationwide Children’s has helped Jack reach his potential and has connected him to other services and therapies, including Help Me Grow and Early Intervention Preschool.