The Medical Association Coalition (MAC), the group that has been working on making improvements to the one-bite program, met February 7. Desired improvements are focused on clearing up uncertainty about eligibility criteria for one-bite, without taking away the confidentiality assured under the program currently; and tightening the criteria for treatment facilities and for the organization assigned to monitor one-bite participants.
- Examination at an approved treatment provider
- If diagnosed with impairment, the individual completes treatment in accordance with SMBO requirements
- The individual has not violated SMBO statutes or rules, other than those relating to impairment.
The necessary legislation has been drafted and the consensus, among members of the MAC, is that the bill is a big improvement from the current statute. After two plus years of negotiation, MAC participants feel that we have reached a place that none of us thought possible in the beginning.
Representative Steve Huffman is expected to sponsor the bill with Representatives Bob Sprague and Terry Johnson as likely co-sponsors.
Relative to a similar one-bite program for mental health issues, the SMBO is drafting rules to make actions on mental illness non-disciplinary. Non-disciplinary means actions would not be reported to that National Practitioners Data Bank; but the rule change would not permit the licensee to seek treatment confidentially (without involvement from the SMBO). There was resistance to including the confidential piece in the substance abuse and addiction one-bite program. Making the action non-disciplinary is an improvement. The Ohio Academy of Family Physicians will continue to work on establishing a confidential one-bite system for licensees with a mental health diagnosis.