Ohio House Bill 448 - Prescription Reader Coverage Bill

Fortitude and persistence are two words that describe the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio and their work toward making Ohio a safe and accessible place for those with vision loss. Their belief that blindness doesn’t stop you from living the life you want with a focus on removing barriers drives their pursuit of legislation for the provision and insurance coverage of audible prescription readers in all Ohio pharmacies. Ohio House Bill 448 would do just that if it passes into law.

This bill would help blind and visually impaired patients manage their medications more safely.  “Fortunately, I have sighted help when I need to know what a medication is” shares Colleen Roth, a member of the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio.   “I had a friend who was blind and did not have sighted help to read prescription bottles. He simply put them in different places and guessed what they were. He has since passed away so I am sharing this in case others have done the same thing.”

Another member, Todd Elzey recently posted on Facebook, “I have more than one medication for which the instructions say: store at room temperature away from light and moisture, do not store in the bathroom. How many people store medications in the bathroom medicine cabinet? I never gave it a second thought until I first accessed one of the labels on a prescription bottle [using a prescription reader.]”

Supporters are hoping the bill will finally be passed this legislative session.  In 2019 Representative Richard Brown and a dozen co-sponsors introduced bill HB214. That previous bill was assigned to the Health Committee and had two hearings and garnered the support of vision advocates, NFB of Ohio, Cleveland Sight Center, Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, the Southeastern Ohio Center for Independent Living and of pharmacists in the Ohio Pharmacists Association. However, the bill was tabled due to more pressing issues during the pandemic and expired at the end of 2020.

The recently reintroduced bill HB448 has slightly different language from the prior bill including a new provision that insurance companies cover the cost of the prescription reader device if one is needed helping defray the costs for pharmacies and patients. The bill has been assigned to the Ohio House Insurance Committee.  No hearing dates have been set yet.  

#HB448  #AccessSavesLives  #National Federation of the Blind of Ohio