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Ohio’s Proposed Disabled Physician Rule: Non-Disciplinary Track for Mental or Physical Illness

By Laura A. Perkovic

The State Medical Board of Ohio Policy Committee has proposed a revision to the Ohio Administrative rules, which would create a non-disciplinary track for monitoring physicians with mental or physical illness. This would align Ohio with several other states that have specific rules for disabled physicians. This proposed rule should not be confused with the Ohio Board’s rules pertaining to substance use disorders or chemical abuse/dependency.

Summary of Proposed Disabled Physician Rule:

The proposal would amend Section 4731-28-02 of the Administrative Code, allowing for ongoing observation and monitoring rather than formal disciplinary action for a physician who is the subject of investigation concerning a mental or physical illness. However, a physician will be ineligible if: (1) the allegations concern sexual boundary issues; (2) there is a history of violence, threats of violence, or allegations of violence to people or property; (3) there are prior criminal convictions, or if there is credible evidence of criminal conduct; (4) the individual was non-compliant during any probationary period in Ohio or any other state.

If eligible, the physician would be involved in a confidential process, and be required to submit to a physical or mental examination, participate in treatment, monitoring, and supervision for a period of not less than two years. After the minimum period, a request for termination may be submitted with documentation that the physician’s condition is stable, is expected to remain so, and the treating provider supports the physician’s request for termination. If a request to terminate is denied, the physician will undergo an additional 6 months of monitoring before a subsequent request can be submitted. In other words, the Ohio Medical Board will be allowed to monitor the physician for the duration of the impairment. Once the physician’s condition is stable, and the physician can practice with a reasonable degree of skill and safety, participation will be successfully terminated.

Timeline:

The proposed rule is in its preliminary stage, and was discussed at the March 8, 2017 meeting of the State Medical Board of Ohio’s Policy Committee. It will take several months and several layers of approval before it is adopted.  Following the current circulation and comment period, the proposed rule may be revised in response to commentary.  The final rule will be considered by the Medical Board, then submitted for additional review and approval prior to official adoption as part of the Ohio Administrative Code.

See proposed rule: Non-Disciplinary Track for Mental or Physical Illness

UPDATES TO THE STATUS OF THIS PROPOSED DISABLED PHYSICIAN RULE WILL BE POSTED ON THE CHAPMAN LAW GROUP WEBSITE.

Please contact Attorney Laura Perkovic at the Chapman Law Group Columbus, Ohio Office to discuss matters related to physician discipline and monitoring programs involving the Medical Board of Ohio at (614) 360-3848.