Physicians who believe they need to seek medical treatment for drug or alcohol abuse are often concerned about the ramifications they may suffer by the State Medical Board of Ohio if it is determined that they do need treatment. They commonly want to know, “will the treatment be confidential?” or “will the treatment facility or their colleagues and employer who may know of their impairment be required to report them to the Medical Board?”
Physicians who believe they may need treatment should seek an assessment immediately. Your health is the most important consideration. However, in seeking an assessment for suspected chemical dependency or substance abuse, it is important to submit to an evaluation at one of the State Medical Board of Ohio approved facilities. A list of the facilities approved by the Medical Board can be found at: http://www.med.ohio.gov/pdf/treatment_compliance/TREATMNT.pdf
It is imperative that you seek an evaluation and follow the treatment recommendation of the Medical Board approved treatment facility. Seeking an assessment or treatment at a non-Medical Board approved facility will NOT be accepted by the Medical Board and you will be required to repeat the treatment. However, if you voluntarily seek treatment and follow the recommendations of an approved treatment facility, you may be able to avail yourself to the Medical Board’s ONE BITE policy.
What is One-Bite? The One Bite rule allows impaired licensees who seek and complete treatment and aftercare at a Medical Board approved treatment provider to remain in the private sector for monitoring, as long as their acts did not result in a criminal conviction or put patients or others at risk of harm:
Within One Bite:
- Alcohol only
- Illegal drug use
- Taking drugs from sources that did not involve patients
- Issuing prescriptions for one’s own use in one’s own name
Outside of One Bite:
- Criminal conviction related to use or abuse of a controlled substance at or near the time the Board is determining if they meet the requirements for One Bite
- Treatment in lieu
- Failure to complete appropriate treatment and aftercare with a Board approved provider
- Criminal acts that involve the use of another’s name or involve patient’s name
- Compromised patient care
- Out of state action
If the Board becomes involved by investigator contact with the licensee or the Board orders the licensee for an assessment the individual no longer qualifies for One Bite. One Bite is basically ONE chance to voluntarily seek treatment for substance abuse without having to submit to monitoring by the Medical Board.
Are hospitals and colleagues required to report the suspected impaired physician to the Medical Board? Under Ohio R.C. 4731.224 (http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/4731.224) and O.A.C. 4731-15-01 (http://codes.ohio.gov/oac/4731-15-01) licensees and health care facilities are relieved of the obligation to report the impaired physician to the Medical Board IF the individual has sought treatment at a Medical Board approved facility.
As always, if you have further questions, feel free contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 614-486-3909.