By Frank Lewis
The Ohio House Healthcare Efficiencies Study Committee had a hearing at Shawnee State University on Tuesday. The purpose of the committee was to examine healthcare efficiencies that lead to better health outcomes at a lower cost to Ohioans. State Representative Terry Johnson, who is also a family physician and clinical professor at OUHCOM, said he was excited by the opportunity to host the study committee.
“The House Health and Aging Committee subcommittee headed up by Representative Steve Huffman is looking at health efficiencies and regional problems across the state and we’ve been targeted as a community to come and visit,” Johnson said. “Today we’re talking about not only health in Ohio, but health problems that are specific to our region.”
While Scioto County has, over the last several years, been at the bottom or near the bottom in health issues, Johnson sees the light at the end of the tunnel.
“We are, as a community, doing various positive things to address these health issues,” Johnson said. “We need help from the state in certain ways, but primarily, we need to rally our community to do more of what we’re doing. We’re addressing these health issues and the message is very good. Our health indices have actually improved and they have improved specifically in the areas that we’ve targeted to improve.”
Huffman said it is important to go into local communities to look for best practices.
“Today we’re talking about behavioral health and addictive health and in general we will look at things people do around the state and how we can bring it to the state level because there are a lot of great things going on, and push it out to other people for all Ohioans,” Huffman told the Daily Times.
Johnson said Speaker of the Ohio House Cliff Rosenberger created the committee to examine healthcare models across Ohio that the House can help support and promote. The findings of the committee will potentially be used in legislation to be introduced later in the General Assembly. The Portsmouth hearing focused on the topic of behavioral health. Director Tracy Plouck of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services presented to the committee, with public testimony following.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.