Healthcare access and water quality among initiatives to pass key legislative hurdles

State Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) today announced the passage of three bipartisan bills he sponsored that would address a number of issues facing local communities. Among the Patterson-sponsored bills passing key legislative hurdles were initiatives to expand healthcare access and improve water quality.

House Bill (HB) 541 would streamline the process for licensed, out-of-state medical professionals to volunteer at charitable healthcare events in Ohio. The bill would help underserved communities staff volunteer clinics, like the Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corps, a temporary health clinic that saw some 300 local medical professionals provide free healthcare services to 1,000 Ashtabula-area residents in April.
“By cutting the red tape and making it easier for out-of-state medical professionals to volunteer at pop-up health clinics, we can get Ohioans who lack access to care the quality services they need get healthy and back on their feet,” said Patterson.

HB 541 sets limits on the duration of practicing at a charity or volunteer event to no more than seven days and still requires healthcare providers to act within their professional scope of practice. Current law requires out-of-state medical volunteers to pay $125 for a temporary license, which would be waived under the new plan.

The House also passed HB 454, a bipartisan bill that would allow townships to buy back unused cemetery plots, as well as Senate Bill 86, which includes two Patterson-sponsored initiatives designating Covered Bridge Month and creating Alzheimer’s Awareness Month in the final bill.

Finally, Patterson announced the House Finance Committee unanimously passed HB 643, known as the Clean Lake 2020 Plan, a bipartisan effort to reduce harmful algal blooms by establishing a statewide bond issue to invest $36 million in innovative programs to clean up Lake Erie.

“Lake Erie remains a vital resource to our state, from the impact it has on our jobs and economy to the everyday reliance we place on it for drinking water and recreation. We must do everything we can to ensure its long-term health,” said Patterson. “The Clean Lake 2020 Plan confronts the challenges we face by investing in new, innovative programs to clean up our lake so that we can enjoy this treasure for generations to come.”

After passing the House, HB 541 and HB 454 now move to the Senate for consideration. The Clean Lake 2020 Plan will go to the House floor for a vote.

Rep. Patterson ushers series of bipartisan bills through Ohio House