Ohio lawmakers are considering a bill that would encourage medical professionals to volunteer at free clinics, a move that the bill’s sponsor said would increase access to care (Source: “Ohio House Bill aims to encourage medical professionals to volunteer at free clinics,” Willoughby News-Herald, Dec. 4, 2013).
Ohio House Bill 320, which is sponsored by Rep. Ron Young, R-Leroy Township, would permit retired health care professionals to hold a volunteer’s certificate to provide certain health care services without compensation at any location, including a free clinic, according to a bill summary by the Ohio Legislative Service Commission.
The bill also would extend qualified immunity from civil liability to volunteer health care professionals providing free service to Medicaid enrollees and would authorize the Board of Nursing to issue a volunteer’s certificate to retired RNs.
Young said free clinics play a critical role in health care delivery and he discovered there are ways state law could potentially be changed to help them recruit and retain volunteers. “They help to reduce inappropriate use of hospital emergency rooms and provide critically needed care, which allows many citizens to hold jobs and be productive members of our communities,” he said.