COLUMBUS—State Reps. Thomas West (D-Canton) and Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) today announced that they have sent a joint letter to Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) Director Maureen Corcoran requesting that she establish a pathway for Ohio’s pharmacists to be reimbursed for the administration of COVID-19 tests.


Specifically, the letter asks that “ODM take this critical step and create billing codes for COVID-19 specimen collection and testing so that pharmacists who care for Ohioans impacted by this pandemic can be appropriately reimbursed.”


The lawmakers’ letter comes after Governor Mike DeWine spoke at his May 28 press conference about how critical pharmacists are in ensuring widespread access to COVID-19 testing. However, community pharmacists have brought attention to the fact that ODM still has not set up a system through which to reimburse them for the testing costs.


“Swift action from ODM is needed so that pharmacists can depend on reimbursement for providing testing and other critical care to Ohio patients,” said Rep. West. “As the Governor has said, Ohio’s pharmacists are a critical part of our continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We must ensure they have the support they need to do their jobs and help boost our testing rates.”


“If we are to truly understand the scope of this public health crisis and manage it effectively, we must administer COVID-19 tests at the rate deemed necessary by our health experts,” said Rep. Russo.  “The participation of Ohio’s pharmacists in the administration of COVID-19 testing is crucial to these efforts, and we must make sure they are appropriately compensated.  I urge ODM to quickly create a pathway for Ohio’s pharmacists to bill ODM for authorized medical services so that they may continue providing care to ill Ohioans during this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”


Senate Bill (SB) 265 from the 132nd General Assembly provided the legal basis for pharmacists to be compensated for medical services. Additionally, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy recently issued guidance to clarify federal rules on how pharmacists should administer COVID-19 tests.


Recent data from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) demonstrates that Ohio’s current testing capacity continues to lag behind Governor DeWine’s stated goals.


ODH figures show that Ohio averaged somewhere between 7,100 and 12,800 tests per day during the middle two weeks of May, far shy of the Governor’s desired 22,000 per day by May 27.

 
 
 
  
Featured Posts

Rep. West Announces Open Application Period For BroadbandOhio Connectivity Grant Program

 

State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) announced Ohio schools may begin applying for the new BroadbandOhio Connectivity Grant beginning today, Monday, August 10. A total of $50 million will be allocated to expand high-speed internet access for Ohio students utilizing remote learning during the COVID crisis by providing hotspots and internet-enabled devices to students.



 
 

Rep. West, House Democrats Reveal Legislative Plans For Police Reforms

 

Ohio House Democrats, led by Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron), are acting swiftly to respond to the thousands of concerned voices being raised in cities and towns throughout Ohio by announcing today their preliminary legislative plans to combat police brutality. The proposed bills would prohibit profiling, tear gas, and the use of quotas by all law enforcement agencies, as well as call for the independent investigation of officer-involved shootings and the creation of databases to better track problematic behavior and employment history of law enforcement officers.



 
 

OLBC Members Urge DeWine Administration To Consider Racial Disparities In Effects Of COVID-19

 

State Reps. Thomas West (D-Canton) and Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) today joined State Sen. Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati) in writing a letter to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted, and Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton outlining steps to combat racial disparities in health outcomes amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The joint letter is part of an effort by the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) to address racial and ethnic disparities in the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.



 
 

Rep. West, House Dems Outline Priorities As Assembly Returns To Consider Emergency Legislation Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

 

State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) today joined Democratic colleagues to outline several key priorities as lawmakers return to the Statehouse this week to take up emergency measures to address the public health and economic crises facing the state amid the COVID-19 pandemic.