COVID-19 Update: How Ohio's coronavirus emergency bill impacts health care providers



On March 25, 2020, the Ohio General Assembly passed H.B. 197, which enacts a number of provisions to assist health care providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Significant provisions of the bill for providers include:

Medicaid community providers and workforce support: H.B. 197 authorizes the Ohio Medicaid Director to classify certain providers as COVID-19 community providers, which allows the Medicaid Director to direct Medicaid funds to these providers. It also authorizes the Medicaid Director to request that the Office of Budget and Management designate additional funds related to the COVID-19 outbreak for Medicaid payments to these COVID-19 community providers.

Licensure extensions during the state of emergency: H.B. 197 defers requirements for licensure renewal for providers until either 90 days after the state of emergency ends or until December 1, 2020, whichever comes first. Disciplinary actions against license holders, including suspension and potential revocation of licenses, will generally be allowed to continue during the state of emergency.

Open meetings: The governing bodies of Ohio's government hospitals (and other publicly-operated health care facilities subject to Ohio's Open Meetings Law) may hold and attend open meetings using teleconference or other video technology until December 1, 2020, or until the state of emergency expires. Public bodies must meet certain requirements to hold virtual meetings, including providing at least 24-hour notice of meetings and hearings, information about how the meeting will be conducted and information regarding how the public may access the meeting.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists: H.B. 197 grants permanent authority for CRNAs to administer drugs, treatments and IV fluids for conditions related to the administration of anesthesia. It also adds other functions to the scope of practice for CRNAs under Ohio law, including ordering diagnostic tests.

Temporary nursing licenses: H.B. 197 requires the Board of Nursing to issue temporary licenses during the state of emergency to nursing applicants who have completed all requirements for licensure except for their licensure exam. The temporary licenses will be valid until December 1, 2020, or 90 days after the state of emergency expires, whichever comes first.

Child care centers: Providers who have child daycare centers may continue to provide services during the state of emergency even if they are short-staffed, as H.B. 197 has suspended the rules regarding the maximum number of children per child care staff member and maximum group sizes. H.B. 197 also authorizes the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services to continue to pay providers of publically-funded child care centers during the state of emergency.

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