What the Medical Board really cares about – sex, drugs & lies

Today is the State Medical Board of Ohio’s monthly Board meeting. It is always scheduled for the second Wednesday of the month. Decisions on disciplinary actions are always scheduled on the 1pm docket. It is a  cattle call. All disciplinary actions are deliberated and final decisions are voted on in open session. Members of the public, including medical students, and the press are welcome to and do attend.

The first question I am always asked by physicians is “What will get me in trouble with the Medical Board”.  While the Medical Board can discipline a licensee for a wide range of things, there are three areas that seem to be of their highest concern: Sex, Drugs and Lies.

Sex. The Board typically takes disciplinary action against a licensee who has sex with a patient. However, the Board is also concerned with boundary violations with patients. Have you employed a patient in your office or loaned money to a patient or signed a car note or credit card application for a client? The line in the sand between a doctor and a patient should be clear. There should be no overlapping of a doctor/patient relationship and a personal relationship.

Drugs. Nearly half of all disciplinary actions handled by the Medical Board each year involve impaired physicians. Physicians who have been diagnosed with drug or alcohol problems. The Medical Board is also very concerned about the prescribing habits of physicians. Has the physician prescribed to the mother of a patient as opposed to the patient because only the mother has insurance? Has the physician prescribed a controlled substance to a family member?  Has the physician prescribed a drug to a patient for other than legitimate medical purposes?

Lies. The Medical Board does not like to be lied to. If you complete an application and fail to give clear, concise and accurate information to the Board, you will likely face a disciplinary action. Similarly, if you are the subject of discipline by another state and fail to tell the Ohio Board, you will likely be subject to discipline in Ohio not just for the “sister state discipline” but also for failing to disclose the action to the Ohio Board.

At the Board meeting today, the Board will consider final discipline in four cases. One involves practicing below the standard of care in the prescribing of medications to four patients that also resulted in felony and misdemeanor convictions; two cases relate to alcohol abuse or addiction and relapse and one involves an inappropriate sexual relationship with a patient. http://www.med.ohio.gov/pdf/Agenda/Agenda%20-2012/03-12agenda.pdf

Off to the meeting….

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

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