The Senate Finance Committee released its substitute budget bill on June 12 and the results are a mixed bag for family medicine.
The Senate version of the budget restores some of the money to the family medicine line item. The executive budget proposed $3,166,185 per year of the biennium. The House reduced that amount by 10% in the first year of the budget to $2,849,567 and collapsed the family medicine line into several other lines in the second year of the budget. The Senate deconsolidated the lines for both years of the biennium and restored some funding to the family medicine line back to $3,071,199 for both years of the biennium.
The Senate did not restore funding to the Ohio Comprehensive Primary Care (CPCOhio) program. We will attempt to get the money restored in conference committee.
The Ohio State Medical Association’s amendment to require health benefit plans to cover telemedicine services on the same basis and to the same extent that the plan covers in-person health services was removed in the Senate version of the budget.
And many concerning pieces relating to Medicaid funding remain. The Senate did not revise the House-passed budget provision that puts the state’s share of Medicaid expansion in a separate fund and then requires the administration to seek approval every six months from the Ohio Controlling Board, a quasi-legislative budgetary panel, to release its match to the billions drawn down in federal funds. Such a requirement will provide much uncertainty for physicians and other health care professionals who treat Medicaid patients and for the patients themselves.
The full Senate will be considering the Senate Finance Committee’s version of the state budget by Wednesday, June 21. It is not anticipated that the full Senate will make many major changes in the budget prior to the vote. Assuming the full Senate passed the budget on Wednesday, June 21, that will give the House-Senate Conference Committee nine days to iron out the differences in the House and Senate versions of the budget.
The state budget bill needs to be passed by Friday, June 30, in order to go into effect Saturday, July 1.