Senate Bill 243 (SB 243) will be heard by the Senate Medicaid Committee on Wednesday, December 7. The Ohio Academy of Family Physicians has joined other organizations that make up a coalition of interested parties, Ohioans for Step Therapy Reform, in calling for Senate Medicaid Committee Chair David Burke to move step therapy reform legislation in the lame duck session.
In correspondence with Sen. Burke dated December 6, 2016, Ohioans for Step Therapy Reform stated, “You have heard from us as individual organizations and as a growing coalition in support of SB 243. You have heard from physicians and other health care professionals about the administrative burden that step therapy places on their practices. You have heard from patients about their health issues when they cannot access the medicine they need due to step therapy.”
“Step therapy is a one-size-fits-all policy and for many physicians and patients it has become a barrier to getting the right care at the right time,” the letter continues. “Step therapy can undermine physicians’ ability to effectively treat patients, lower quality of care, and lead to set backs and disease progression for patients.”
“SB 243 does not prohibit insurers from using step therapy but seeks to balance cost containment with patient needs. SB 243 protects patients by ensuring that step therapy programs are based on clinical guidelines developed by independent experts and that the exceptions process for step therapy is transparent and accessible to patients and their physicians.
The letter concludes, “We need your help to ensure that physicians can override step therapy when necessary for the care of their patients. Eleven other states have enacted legislation similar to SB 243. Patients in Ohio deserve this protection too. We urge you to support SB 243.”