One-Bite Reporting Exemption

After months of pushing legislation to eliminate the one-bite program, the State Medical Board of Ohio (SMBO) is proposing to withdraw its draft legislation and maintain the one-bite program as it exists for now while a working group is convened to address known gaps in the one-bite rule. The Ohio Academy of Family Physicians would be represented on the one-bite working group.

While the working group meets, licensees can continue to report confidentially to either a treatment provider or to the Ohio Physicians Health Program (OPHP) who can assess one-bite rule eligibility.

From the beginning the OAFP and other members of the Medical Associations Coalition (MAC) have been asking for an opportunity to work with the SMBO to improve the program while maintaining a means for licensees to seek treatment without reporting to the SMBO. The SMBO has finally conceded that it does understand the concerns expressed that requiring licensees report to the SMBO for approval to participate in the one-bite program would essentially eliminate any voluntary participation in the program.

The MAC submitted a letter to the SMBO on February 16, 2016, to express its pleasure with the decision to withdraw the legislation. The MAC looks forward to a working with the SMBO, MAC members, and the OPHP to reach a collective agreement surrounding the one-bite rule that will improve the process and encourage physicians to seek out help under a confidential system.

In February 2017, new necessary legislation had been drafted and the consensus, among members of the MAC, is that the bill is a big improvement from the current statute.

The OAFP encourages physicians who may need some sort of addiction or mental health counseling and/or treatment to get that help as soon as possible and not wait until the problem becomes significant as delayed treatment is potentially more detrimental to interests of the public, than is addressing the problem early on and in confidence.

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