State Representative Anne Gonzales (R-Westerville) recently offered sponsor testimony on two bills in the House Health and Aging Committee that strive to give health care professionals more tools to provide comprehensive, high-quality care for Ohioans.

House Bill 292, which received its first hearing in the Health and Aging Committee, establishes a state licensure of genetic counselors in Ohio. Currently, there are no state regulations that prevent individuals—including health care professionals with graduate degrees and experience in medical genetics and counseling—from providing genetic counseling and calling themselves genetic counselors, even if they were inadequately trained for such a position. This legislation would explicitly permit licensed genetic counselors to provide specific services within the realm of interpretations of genetic tests, risk estimates for disease, and other similar services.

Rep. Gonzales also offered sponsor testimony on House Bill 284, which modernizes the laws dealing with physician assistants (PAs). The legislation would expand the duties that may be performed by PAs by allowing PAs to make the pronouncement of death; allow PAs to provide care and treatment during times of natural disaster under the supervision of another physician; give PAs Schedule II prescriptive authority with strict limits on where and how those prescriptions may be prescribed; improve the ability of PAs to provide treatment on board emergency transportation; and allow up to 100 percent Medicaid reimbursement for PAs at a PA-specific rate, as well as other provisions specified in the bill.

“These two important pieces of legislation will allow Ohioans to continue to receive the best possible health care in our state,” Rep. Gonzales said.

Additionally, Rep. Gonzales testified before the House Education Committee in support of House Bill 255, which she introduced to improve access to the federal school breakfast and lunch programs for low-income children in Ohio. The legislation would implement programs that were authorized by Congress as part of the Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act and would work to improve access to meal service.

Having now received sponsor testimony, House Bills 225, 284 and 292 will continue to undergo consideration in their respective committees.


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