Morning briefing – Dec. 15

Staff report

* U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), along with U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03), introduced a plan to prevent Medicare enrollees’ doctors from being dropped by networks once coverage begins. The Medicare Advantage Bill of Rights Act would ensure that enrollees know what providers will be covered for the entire year under their plan, rather than just at enrollment time.

“Seniors and other Medicare recipients deserve the peace of mind that they’ll be able to receive care from their trusted doctors year round. But in recent years, we’ve heard too many reports of doctors being dropped from a patient’s network,” said Brown. “To ensure that Medicare Advantage plans work for doctors and beneficiaries, I’m reintroducing legislation that would ensure MA plans cannot drop providers from their network in the middle of a plan year without cause. It would also improve network adequacy protections in MA plans, and ensure consistency for both beneficiaries and health care providers on an annual basis.”

“Seniors deserve to know that when health issues arise, they will always be able to turn to their own trusted physician,” said Blumenthal. “This legislation ensures that the millions of seniors who rely on Medicare Advantage will not be faced with the unnecessary burden of finding a new doctor only because an insurer is more concerned with its bottom line than it is with the care people receive. We cannot allow insurers like United Healthcare Group to drop thousands of qualified doctors from their plans mid-year, without explanation, and force Americans to lose coverage for care from providers they know and trust.”

* Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office will appear today before the Ohio Controlling Board to return $52,496 that were appropriated for the constitutionally required statewide ballot advertising prior to the November 3, 2015 General Election.

“Providing better services with lower costs is something businesses strive for every day and that’s how we’ve operated in our office since I became Secretary of State,” Secretary Husted said. “I’m grateful to our partners at AdOhio for their work in helping us be good stewards of the taxpayer’s money.”

The Secretary of State’s office contracted with the Ohio Newspaper Services Inc., also known as AdOhio, to provide legal advertising totaling $560,082, $52,496 less than expected. The Ohio Constitution requires the publication of arguments for and against all statewide ballot issues in newspapers leading up to Election Day.

* John Engle, MD, MSHA, has joined OhioHealth Primary Care Physicians and is now accepting patients. He will be replacing Dr. Timothy Garner’s family medicine practice at 241 Executive Drive, Marion. Dr. Garner retired from OhioHealth Marion in September of this year.

“I am both pleased and excited to be returning to the OhioHealth family. My OhioHealth roots go deep. Myself, my children, and my grandchildren were born in OhioHealth facilities. I have trained, practiced, and taught in OhioHealth facilities. I am grateful for the opportunity to succeed Dr. Garner and will do my best to render care in a competent and compassionate manner,” said Dr. Engle of his recent move to OhioHealth Marion.

Dr. Engle has special interests in family care, including infant and pediatric care. He provides minor in-office skin procedures, contraceptive management with IUDs and implants, steroid injections, and enjoys working with his patients to maintain their health through preventive medical care.

Staff report