Companion bills, Senate Bill 366 and House Bill 617, were introduced on November 15 to restructure the state’s professional licensing boards. Under the proposal, the State Medical Board of Ohio (SMBO) would keep its same basic structure and membership, but would assume most of the work and oversight currently assigned to the Ohio Board of Dietetics and the Ohio Respiratory Care Board, with the exception of licensing home medical equipment facilities. The change would add roughly 11,500 licensees to the SMBO’s existing number of approximately 81,000 licenses.
The dental, nursing, and chiropractic boards would remain unchanged. The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy would absorb the approval and monitoring of home medical equipment facility licensing. A new Physical Health Services Board would replace the State Board of Orthotics, Prosthetics, and Pedorthics, and the Ohio Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Athletic Trainers Board (reduces 29 board members from on 2 independent boards to 7 board members on a single board). A new Behavioral Health Professionals Board would replace the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professional Board; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage and Family Therapist Board; and the Ohio State Board of Psychology (reduces 37 board members on 3 independent boards to 7 board members on a single board). And a new Vision and Hearing Professionals Board would replace the Ohio State Board of Optometry; the Ohio Optical Dispensers Board; the Hearing Aid Dealers and Fitters Licensing Board; and the Ohio Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology (reduces 31 board members on 4 independent boards to 9 board members on one independent board).
Board consolidation is something that the Kasich administration has been eyeing since assuming office six years ago. A 2015 U.S. Supreme Court case about antitrust implications of the North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners (NCBDE) being active participants in the profession they regulate provided the opening – the bill also provides for third-party review by the Department of Administrative Services of any board action that negatively impacts an individual. In the case mentioned, the NCBDE ruled that only dentists could offer teeth whitening services and that was found to be restraint of trade.