On Monday, The Buckeye Institute released its new report advocating for three ways to increase access to affordable healthcare in Ohio, especially in low-income and underserved areas.
The Ohio Legislature could enact The Buckeye Institute’s recommended changes at no cost to taxpayers and at great benefit to Ohioans who are most in need of expanded healthcare access.
“Ohio needs to deregulate the way that physicians and nurses provide healthcare so that private charities, free clinics, and others can help our neediest communities,” says Tom Lampman, author of the new report, which is entitled Expanding Access to Healthcare in Ohio. “We need to cut through the bureaucratic red tape that keeps qualified providers—out-of-state physicians, for example—from being able to provide health care in Ohio.”
The Buckeye Institute report recommends three reforms:
Relaxing restrictions on out-of-state physicians providing charity care. Ohio currently prohibits licensed out-of-state physicians from volunteering in Ohio unless they are retired. Charitable organizations, such as Remote Area Medical and Mission of Mercy, could provide care to thousands of needy Ohioans, if this regulation were changed.
Lifting certain regulations on Certified Nurse Practitioners. Ohio law currently prohibits even the state’s most highly trained nurses from practicing medicine without a physician’s supervision. Ohio should follow the 33 other states that give nurse practitioners broader or full autonomy to practice based on their own licensing and qualifications.
Providing continuing medical education (CME) credits for physicians who volunteer in underserved areas. The Ohio Dental Board already provides this credit for dentists. The Ohio Medical Board should permit charity care to count toward the CME credits that physicians are required to earn in order to maintain their license to practice medicine.
“Ohio needs more sources of affordable healthcare,” Lampman said.