In June, the State Medical Board of Ohio (SMBO) took action to remove former question #22 from the application for medical licensure that required answers regarding a physician’s mental health history. Physician organizations, including the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians, had complained about the question for the last decade and finally, the SMBO addressed our expressed concerns.
The eliminated question on the licensure application stated:
22.a. Within the last ten years, have you been diagnosed with or have you been treated for, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, paranoia, or any other psychotic disorder?
22.b. Have you, since attaining the age of eighteen or within the last ten years, whichever period is shorter, been admitted to a hospital or other facility for the treatment of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, paranoia, or any other psychotic disorder?
If you answered YES” to any part of this question, please provide details on a separate sheet, including date of diagnosis or treatment, and a description of your present condition. Include the name, current mailing address, and telephone number of each person who treated you, as well as each facility where you received treatment, and the reason for treatment. Have each treating physician submit a letter detailing the dates of treatment, diagnosis, and prognosis.
The SOMB in eliminating question #22 made significant changes to question #23.
23. In the past five years, Do you have, or have you been diagnosed as having, or been hospitalized for a medical condition which in any way impairs or limits your ability to practice medicine with reasonable skill and safety? You may answer “NO” to this question if you hold a current training certificate to pursue training in Ohio and the only such medical condition is chemical dependency or substance abuse, and you have successfully completed or are currently receiving treatment at a program approved by this board and have adhered to all statutory requirements as contained in Sections 4731.224 and 4731.25, O.R.C., and related provisions. Any questions concerning approval can be directed to the board offices.
a) Are the limitations or impairment caused by your medical condition reduced or ameliorated because you receive ongoing treatment or received treatment in the past (with or without medication) or participate in a monitoring program?
If you receive such ongoing treatment or participate in such monitoring program the board will make an individualized assessment of the nature, severity, and duration of the risk associated with an ongoing medical condition so as to determine whether an unrestricted license should be issued, whether conditions should be imposed, or whether you are not eligible for licensure. Have each treating physician submit a letter detailing the dates of treatment, diagnosis and prognosis.
b) Are the limitation or impairments caused by your medical condition reduced or ameliorated because of the field of practice, the setting, or the manner in which you have chosen to practice?
PLEASE NOTE: Any materials submitted regarding your medical condition are confidential under the Board’s investigative authority under Section 4731.22(F)(5), Ohio Revised Code.
The physician associations will be suggesting some edits to question #23 but the OAFP is extremely appreciative of the SMBO’s decision to finally remove question #22 from the licensure application as this question could deter physicians from seeking needed treatment.