Community Solutions Awards for Public Service in Honor of John A. Begala

State Representatives Nickie Antonio (D-13) and Robert Sprague (R-83) received The Center for Community Solutions Awards for Public Service in Honor of John A. Begala  for their efforts to address Ohio’s opiate crisis and their work on the Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee. The awards ceremony took place at The Q in Cleveland on Friday, October 21, 2016.

Sprague has been on the frontline of addressing Ohio’s opiate epidemic. He has been the sponsor of numerous pieces of legislation seeking to expand access to substance abuse treatment, as well as access to Naloxone which is used to treat overdoses. Antonio helped get legislative approval of language expanding access to syringe exchange programs that will help avert disease and encourage more addicts to get needed treatment.

Representatives Antonio and Sprague are also being honored for their work on the Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee which assists in limiting the rate of spending growth, while improving quality of care and health outcomes for individuals enrolled in the state's Medicaid program.

“What is notable about Representatives Antonio and Sprague is that they work in collaboration with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get results,” said John R. Corlett, president and executive director of The Center for Community Solutions (CCS).

According to Corlett, “This award was created to honor those who have shown a great commitment to public service, especially as it relates to improving health and human services in Ohio. Representatives Sprague and Antonio have certainly done that, but they have also literally saved the lives of countless Ohioans through their legislative work.”

This award is named after John A. Begala, Community Solutions’ former executive director and a three-term member of the Ohio House of Representatives. Begala dedicated his career to public service and the human service field, with leadership positions at The MetroHealth System in Cleveland, the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Greater Cincinnati Hospital Association, and the Ohio Department of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. Begala believes that, “stripped of all trappings, health and social services are fundamentally acts of love, and there are few better ways to make a living.” He retired in December, 2014.