The Health Policy Institute of Ohio has released the third in a series of inventories and scorecards analyzing Ohio's policy response to the addiction crisis and outlining areas where the state could be more effective. The new report, "Ohio Addiction...

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Ohio Health Policy News 11/16/2019

HPIO scorecard explores Ohio efforts to address addiction in the criminal justice system

The Health Policy Institute of Ohio has released the third in a series of inventories and scorecards analyzing Ohio's policy response to the addiction crisis and outlining areas where the state could be more effective.

The new report, "Ohio Addiction Policy Inventory and Scorecard: Law Enforcement and the Criminal Justice System," provides policymakers and other stakeholders with the information needed to take stock of Ohio's policy response to addiction within the law enforcement and criminal justice sectors.

Key findings include:

  • Progress toward evidence-informed policies. Ohio is beginning to move in the right direction by embracing evidence-informed policies, such as Crisis Intervention Teams and specialized dockets, that address addiction in law enforcement and criminal justice settings.
  • Systemic issues in the criminal justice system. National “tough on crime” policies have resulted in high rates of incarceration for addiction-related offenses. In addition, historically discriminatory criminal justice practices have disproportionately impacted communities of color. More can be done to reduce the number of people with substance use disorder in the criminal justice system, decrease spending on incarceration and improve outcomes for Ohioans struggling with addiction.
  • Gaps in data and information. Policymakers do not have the information they need to comprehensively address addiction and inequities in the criminal justice system because of significant gaps in data collection, analysis and evaluation.

In 2018, HPIO released scorecard reports on prevention, treatment and recovery and overdose reversal and other forms of harm reduction. Future reports will address children's services and data and evaluation.

In recent years HPIO has created several tools for policymakers to address the addiction crisis. Addiction-related data was also included in HPIO's Health Value Dashboard.


10 Ohio counties to participate in national opioid study

Ohio communities will be part of a $350 million federal study analyzing drug intervention techniques and policies. (Source: “Ohio Counties to Be Part of $350M Ohio counties to be part of $350M federal opioid study,” Associated Press, Nov. 9, 2019)

About $66 million will be channeled for the National Institutes of Health’s HEALing Communities Study through Ohio State University to Ashtabula, Athens, Cuyahoga, Darke, Greene, Guernsey, Hamilton, Lucas, Morrow and Scioto counties.

Research sites will test community engagement strategies and several proven opioid prevention and treatment practices.

Nine Ohio counties — Allen, Brown, Franklin, Huron, Jefferson, Ross, Stark, Williams and Wyandot — will be part of the study’s second wave. The study will also look at communities in Kentucky, New York and Massachusetts.


ODH report: Suicides spike across Ohio

Suicides across the state have climbed 45 percent since 2007, signaling an alarming crisis that is hitting everyone from pre-teens to elderly Ohioans, according to a new report by the Ohio Department of Health (Source: “Suicides dramatically increasing across Ohio, report finds,” Hamilton Journal-News, Nov. 13, 2019).

According to the ODH report, between 2007 and 2018, suicide deaths increased 45 percent among all age groups and by 56 percent among youths ages 10 to 24, according to state health officials. Over the past dozen years, 18,391 Ohioans have died by suicide.

The most common method of suicide is firearms, followed by hanging and drug overdose, the report said.


White House finalizes hospital price transparency rule

Hospitals will soon have to share price information they have long kept obscured — including how big a discount they offer cash-paying patients and rates negotiated with insurers — under a rule finalized Friday by the Trump administration (Source: “White House Unveils Finalized Health Care Price Transparency Rule,” Kaiser Health News, Nov. 15, 2019).

The hospital rule is slated to go into effect in January 2021. It is part of an effort by the Trump administration to increase price transparency in hopes of lowering health care costs on everything from hospital services to prescription drugs. But it is controversial and likely to face court challenges.

In a companion proposal, the administration announced it is also planning to require health insurers to spell out beforehand for all services just how much patients may owe in out-of-pocket costs. That measure is now open for public comment.


Judge strikes down minority quota for Ohio marijuana dispensary licenses

A Madison County judge has struck down a state law granting minority-owned medical marijuana businesses a leg up during the competitive licensing process (Source: “Ohio medical marijuana: Minority quota for dispensary licenses struck down,” Cincinnati Enquirer, Nov. 7, 2019).

The ruling against Ohio's "racial quota" is the latest blow to state lawmakers' attempt at making the industry more diverse. It could lead to more dispensary licenses being issued beyond the current total of 56 statewide.

Ohio's 2016 medical marijuana law required 15% of all licenses to grow, process and sell marijuana be awarded to companies majority-owned and operated by a racial minority. A Franklin County judge struck down the provision as it applied to cultivators and processors in November 2018.

This week's ruling applies to dispensaries, which are regulated by the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy. A board spokeswoman said the agency is still reviewing the judge’s ruling and determining next steps.


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