Medical Marijuana Control Program Update

On September 8, 2016, Ohio House Bill 523 legalized medical marijuana in Ohio. The Medical Marijuana Control Program will allow patients, with certain medical conditions and upon the recommendation of an Ohio-licensed physician, to purchase and use medical marijuana. The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program takes effect on September 8, 2018.

Physicians may recommend, but not prescribe, medical marijuana to patients who suffer from certain medical conditions. A physician in Ohio who wants to recommend medical marijuana for a patient must first apply for a Certificate to Recommend through the State Medical Board of Ohio. Applications are available on the Medical Board’s website at http://www.med.ohio.gov.

Ohio physicians applying for the Certificate to Recommend medical marijuana must hold an active and unrestricted Ohio Medical license. Prior to applying for the Certificate, a physician must complete “two hours of continuing medical education” related to diagnosing and treating patients with medical marijuana among other requirements. (See O.A.C. Section 4731-32-02 for more details, and a complete list of Application requirements.)

Prior to recommending medical marijuana for a patient, O.A.C. 4731-32-03 requires that a physician must perform tasks including but not limited to:

• Establish and maintain a bona fide physician-patient relationship;
• Create and maintain a medical record;
• Examine the patient;
• Inquire about the patient’s medical history and any current medications; and
• Include in the patient’s record a diagnosis of the patient’s condition.

There are certain qualifying medical conditions for recommending medical marijuana including but not limited to Parkinson’s disease, ulcerative colitis, fibromyalgia, and cancer. (See R.C. 3796.01(A)(6) for full list of medical conditions).

Qualifying patients must first register with the Ohio Board of Pharmacy. Prior to recommending medical marijuana, a physician must determine from the medical marijuana patient registry whether the patient has an active registration for medical marijuana. O.A.C. 4731-32-03. Only patients who are registered with the Ohio Board of Pharmacy may receive a recommendation for medical marijuana.

Physicians may recommend medical marijuana to minors with the consent of the minor’s parent or legal representative. O.A.C. 4731-32-03(C)(5).

You can find the Ohio Medical Board rules regarding the Medical Marijuana Control Program at: http://codes.ohio.gov/oac/4731-32.

As always, if you have any questions about this blog or the State Medical Board of Ohio, please feel free to contact one of the attorneys at Collis Law Group LLC at (614) 486-3909 or email me at Beth@collislaw.com.

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Medical Practice Closure Considerations

We receive questions concerning the steps that are required or necessary in connection with the closure of a medical practice.  Typically, a physician who has devoted their entire life to the day-to-day practice of medicine is faced with numerous legal, accounting, and administrative tasks, some of which extend beyond the actual shut-down of the practice.  Planning, organization, communication, and administration are key elements to avoid issues after the closure.

Practice closure matters include but are not limited to:

Staff Notification: Staff of the practice should be notified of the closure.  A physician may have to prepare to hire temporary staff if employees leave prior to closing date.

Patient Notification: The State Medical Board of Ohio (“Ohio Medical Board”) has laws and rules pertaining to the notice that a physician is required to give patients.  These laws and rules include, but are not limited to, when notice must be given, the information that is required to be included in the notice, and how notice must be given.

Government/Payor/Agency Notifications: Notice concerning the closure of the practice must be coordinated and given to entities including, but not limited to, the DEA, Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance payors, hospitals, professional associations, and the Ohio Medical Board.  Each entity may have different requirements.

Professional Liability Insurance: If necessary, extended reporting professional liability insurance (so called, “tail coverage”) should be obtained, which provides coverage against claims reported after the liability policy expires.

Medical Records: The storage or transfer of paper and electronic medical records in compliance with Federal and State law including, but not limited to, HIPAA must be completed.  An address or PO Box to receive, and procedure to respond to, medical records requests after the closure of the medical practice must be established and followed.

Service and Supply Providers: Notice concerning the closure of the practice to providers including, but not limited to, providers of ancillary services, medical supplies, and other services and supplies should be coordinated and given.  Accounts with such providers should be closed.

Business Entity Issues: Termination of any Lease Agreement(s), termination of utilities services, collection of accounts receivables, sale of medical and office equipment, dissolving the medical practice legal entity with the Ohio Secretary of State, and filing of final Federal, State, and local tax returns must be coordinated and completed.

If you have any questions about this blog or the State Medical Board of Ohio, please feel free to contact one of the attorneys at Collis Law Group LLC at (614) 486-3909 or email me at Todd@collislaw.com.

State Medical Board of Ohio Monthly Disciplinary Meeting: No Holds Barred!

On the second Wednesday of each month, the State Medical Board of Ohio holds its monthly Board meeting. At these public meetings, the Medical Board reviews and determines all matters related to scope of practice, licensure and discipline.  Yesterday, I attended the Board’s October Board meeting.

In many respects, the October meeting was no different from other meetings. The Board members reviewed the scope of practice for Physician’s Assistants, ruled on licensure applications, and most importantly for the clients that our firm represent, the Medical Board made final determinations in disciplinary matters.

I was struck by the level of detail and care that each Board member took in reviewing the disciplinary matters. I am always appreciative to learn that the Board Members have read the Report and Recommendation of the disciplinary hearings, reviewed all the exhibits, and carefully consider each case.

It is also refreshing to see Board Members challenge each other and actively deliberate before issuing a discipline. The Board Members do not hold back in their questions, concerns or comments while deliberating the sanction that should be imposed in a given case. They also do not simply “rubber stamp” the recommendation of the hearing examiner in a disciplinary case.

Many believe that all deliberations of Board Members should be behind closed doors. I disagree. If a licensee is subject to discipline by the Medical Board, the licensee should be provided with the opportunity to present their defense and listen to the questions and concerns of the Board Members before a sanction, if any, is imposed.

The monthly Board meeting minutes are online and can be reviewed by the public. http://med.ohio.gov/ForthePublic/BoardMeetingMinutes.aspx

I highly encourage all licensees to read the monthly Board minutes. The minutes show WHAT types of cases are of concern to the Board and what Discipline is typically imposed. I make it a point to attend every Board meeting and to read the monthly Board minutes.

As always, if you have any questions about the State Medical Board of Ohio or this post, please feel free to contact me at 614-486-3909 or email me at beth@collislaw.com.