Today Governor John Kasich signed State Representative Ron Young’s (R-Leroy Township) Free Clinic Legislation, House Bill 320. The bill strengthens the operations of free clinics and allow Medicaid patients to have greater access to healthcare options offered by free clinics. 

Regarding the legislation, Representative Young said:

“Free Clinics play a critical role in the delivery of health care in Ohio.  They help to reduce inappropriate use of hospital emergency rooms and provide critically needed care, which allows many citizens to hold jobs and be productive members of our communities.  For example, free clinics provide life-saving health maintenance drugs, such as insulin, for diabetic patients.  Reduction in illness, sometimes by something as easy as a doctor visit and provision of 10 days’ worth of antibiotics, translates directly to reduction in lost work, lost wages, and lost time from school and sports. This results in an increase in active participation in our communities, strengthens families, and builds self esteem.  Free clinics provide all this care very efficiently.  In fact, the best estimates indicate that, for every dollar spent, the clinics deliver nearly $18 in care.  This is an exceptional statistic, and no other health care scheme delivers care so cost effectively.”

Johanna Henz, Executive Director of the Lake County Free Clinic also praised the legislation:

“We are so grateful for the leadership of Rep. Young and Governor John Kasich in ensuring the availability of high quality health care for all Ohioans.  We are both proud and appreciative of our position in our state's health care delivery system.  This legislation will enable an increase in volunteerism and awareness of free clinics, which ultimately leads to a healthier Ohio.”

The Ohio Association of Free Clinics’ Executive Director, Deborah Miller, thanked Representative Young and his staff for their tireless work on HB320:

“This legislation is critical for free clinics in Ohio.  With the implementation of ACA and Medicaid Expansion, we are facing new challenges.  HB320 will help us continue our mission of providing health care for the uninsured and under-insured.  We will be able to expand our services to those who now have limited access to health care.  This bill will also assist free clinics in recruiting volunteer physicians and will increase our capacity to provide services.”

Medicaid patients often have a problem getting timely access to medical care and all too often end up in emergency rooms. This increases the states medical costs dramatically.  At the same time, many doctors are restricted from treating Medicaid patients at free clinics. While doctors can treat the indigent and uninsured for no charge and be protected from lawsuit by Ohio’s Good Samaritan Law, Medicaid patients are not currently included in the law. HB320 changes the law and extends the protection to doctors treating Medicaid patients.  The simple change in the law is expected to save a great deal of money and probably lives as well.

H.B. 320 also allows doctors and dentists who volunteer at free clinics to take part in the Ohio Department of Health’s Physician and Dentist Student Loan Repayment Programs. This provision creates an additional incentive for doctors to volunteer at a free clinic.

The bill will also create a volunteer certificate for retired nurses. Currently retired nurses may not obtain a volunteer certificate and therefore cannot practice in a free clinic without having an active license.  Many retired nurses would like to volunteer their service, but the cost of licensing is an obstacle. The volunteer certificate is free.  Those holding a volunteer certificate will not be permitted to receive payment for services.

The final part of the bill creates the Free Clinic Appreciation Month in the month of December.  It is the hope that celebrating this month will make people more aware of the contributions free clinics make and encourage them to donate more time and money to make them even more successful.

Featured Posts

Rep. Young Announces Sales Tax Holiday For First Weekend Of August

Columbus - 

State Representative Ron Young (R-Leroy Twp.) today announced that a sales tax holiday will be held this weekend, an opportunity for parents to receive some tax relief during back-to-school shopping in preparation for the new school year which will also stimulate economic activity for Ohio’s retailers. This year’s sales tax holiday was established by the state operating budget, House Bill 49.


'Health Care Freedom Act' Protects Ohio Employers, Taxpayers From Obamacare Taxes


State Representative Ron Young (R-Leroy Twp.) and Rep. Andy Thompson (R-Marietta) recently introduced House Bill 91, also known as the “Health Care Freedom Act,” which protects Ohio employers and residents from the penalty provisions included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).