COLUMBUS—State Senator Larry Obhof (R-Medina) today announced that Governor Kasich has signed a comprehensive bill to improve patient access to care.

Senate Bill 129, known as the Prior Authorization Reform Act, is aimed at avoiding delays in treatment. The bill requires faster turnaround times for patients and medical providers to receive health care coverage decisions from insurance companies. Senate Bill 129 was sponsored by Senator Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green) and co-sponsored by Senator Obhof, and was signed into law by Governor Kasich on Monday.

“The Prior Authorization Reform Act will help ensure that patients receive health care treatment when they need it,” said Obhof. “A faster prior authorization process, with better communication between health insurers and medical providers, will improve patient care and will be more cost-effective for everyone involved.”

Senate Bill 129 received strong support from health care providers and patient advocate organizations, including the American Cancer Society, the Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Ohio State Medical Association and the Cleveland Clinic.

Some of the bill’s key reforms include:
Establishing a web-based prior authorization process designed to end the costs and time lost with the current fax and phone call system.
Providing for a 33% reduction in the time allowed for insurers to decide prior authorization requests and a 67% reduction in decision time for appeals of denied requests.
Requiring that insurance companies disclose to medical providers the necessary information and documentation that a provider must submit in order for the request to be considered complete.
Preventing insurance companies from retroactively denying payment for previously-approved requests after the surgery, service or medication is provided.
Improving Government Efficiency

Senator Obhof also announced that Governor Kasich has signed Senate Bill 293, which is aimed at improving the efficiency and cost effectiveness of Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). Among other things, the bill merges of the Division of Parks with the Division of Watercraft and provides for cross-training of the Department's law enforcement personnel.

“These changes will save more than $1 million,” said Obhof, who co-sponsored the bill. “This will allow that money to be used to improve park facilities across Ohio.”

Both Senate Bill 129 and Senate Bill 293 will take effect in 90 days.

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