Today marks a historic moment for chiropractic in Ohio. Yesterday, Governor John Kasich signed House Bill 487; legislation that will reform the way Ohio’s healthcare providers assess and clear concussed athletes. More importantly, this legislation will for the first times in decades, if not since the inception of chiropractic in Ohio, bring to the table both medical doctors and chiropractic physicians to act as one voice in submitting recommendations and guidelines to improve the safety and welfare of our young student athletes. This is a momentous victory not just for chiropractic but for our student athletes in Ohio! Claiming to be the first of its kind in the nation, HB 487 creates a committee under the Department of Health made up of medical doctors and chiropractic physicians who will be charged with establishing the proper education, training and background needed to clear concussed student athletes. This legislative victory took dedication, humility and long nights and weekends to ensure its successful passage from both the Ohio House and Senate. A sincere thank you is certainly required for a handful of individuals who made this happen.
Over the course of the last two years the OSCA has been actively educating our lawmakers about the need to reform Ohio’s concussion management standards. This year was no different. Dr. Kelly Rousch (Gallipolis, Ohio) was instrumental in helping State Representative Ryan Smith introducing our legislation in the house. Rep. Smith, a champion of conservative healthcare, worked with Dr. Rousch on the education background that chiropractic physicians acquire in the study of neurology before obtaining their degree. The information Dr. Rousch passed on to Representative Smith played a crucial role when it came time to educate and lobby for votes in the Ohio House.
When it came time for HB 487 to receive committee hearings in the state senate, Dr. Greg Huffer (Jackson Center, Ohio) wasted no time before reaching out to the senate president about our legislation. His expertise in chiropractic on top of his close, personal friendship with Senate President Keith Faber, allowed our legislation to be properly discussed amongst the decision makers which ultimately led to passing the Ohio Senate by a wide margin. However, it should not go unnoticed that this legislative process took long hours and days of waiting through committee hearings, in both the House and the Senate.
Nicholas Strata, OSCA’s Director of Government Affairs, never let this legislation out of sight since it was first introduced in early February. His countless hours of waiting and lobbying lawmakers about the positives of this bill allowed the OSCA to be given a status update any time there was a new development.The days leading up to the pivotal vote on June 4th were long and sometimes agonizing. On the night of the vote he was working the phones up to 10:00 pm, ensuring our lawmakers had the correct information and the OSCA had the votes to pass it.
Then there was the OSCA membership. Your commitment to calling our state lawmakers was game-changing. Your drive to see this legislation pass ultimately led it to the governor’s desk for his signature. Without your willingness to help, take part in the KEY DC program and contribute to the OSCA’s political action committee would never have put the OSCA in a position to pass this bill. Moving forward it is now more important than ever our membership keeps an active role in the OSCA political affairs arena to ensure our voice is heard.