On probation with the Medical Board? Beware .. there is a new sheriff in town

Physicians who are on probation with the State Medical Board of Ohio related to alcohol or chemical dependency or abuse are generally required to submit to monitoring conditions during probation, including submitting to random urine drug tests, attending weekly AA meetings, completing 104 aftercare sessions, attending quarterly Board appearances,  and having a physician monitor their practice.

In the past, as long as a physician on probation did not have a positive alcohol screen, i.e. illegal substance or prescription medication without  a valid prescription, the Board generally did not always require perfect compliance with all other probationary terms. Again, generally,if a physician failed to submit a quarterly declarations of compliance or failed to attend all required AA meetings, the Board would customarily  address the issue at their quarterly meeting or would send the physician a “friendly” letter advising them that they were not in compliance and requesting that steps be taken to ensure compliance.

Under the direction of former Board Member, Mr. Albert, the Board rarely charged a probationer with failure to comply with the terms of their Consent Agreement, unless they tested positive for drugs or alcohol.  Most recently, however, the Board has taken a much stricter position on probationers who are not 100% in compliance with ALL the terms in their Board Orders or Consent Agreements.

Recently, the Medical Board issued a Notice of Opportunity for Hearing to a physician who had been on probation with the Board since 2005.  Despite the fact that all of the physician’s urine screens were negative, the Board proposed to discipline the physician for allegedly failing to comply with the following terms of the physician’s Consent Agreement: failure to submit quarterly reports to the Board in a timely manner; failure to submit AA logs to the Board; failure to seek Board approval for required courses and for a monitoring physician. Despite no evidence of relapse, the Board voted at its June meeting to revoke this physician’s medical license for failure to be 100% in compliance with the Board’s Order or Consent Agreement.

If you are under probation, please beware. The terms and conditions of Board Orders or Consent Agreements are mandatory. Failure to strictly comply with all terms and conditions of the Board Order or Consent Agreement can serve as the basis for further Board disciplinary action.

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

Do you really need to wear your scrubs everywhere?

I usually try to write on topics related to the State Medical Board of Ohio and issues or problems that can lead to discipline by the Medical Board. Occasionally, however, I will write on a topic that I just find curious for medical professionals. Today, the issue relates to why many medical professionals wear their scrubs out of the hospital?

I have tried to figure out the whole, scrubs as casual wear issue. It makes sense to see medical professionals around the hospital or on the hospital grounds in their scrubs. I don’t find it unusual to see health care professionals grabbing a quick-lunch in their scrubs. However, the wearing of scrubs has gone way beyond that.   Is the rationale for wearing the scrubs that “I could be called to the hospital at any minute, so I need to be prepared?” This might be it. However, yesterday, I saw someone cutting their grass in their scrubs! I hope they don’t wear that same outfit into the hospital if they are immediately called in for an emergency.

My father was a practicing anesthesiologist for over forty years. He left the house before 6am in a suit and tie and returned late each evening in a suit and tie. I can’t say that I ever saw him in scrubs. He certainly never went to dinner or cut the grass in scrubs.

Now, some may ask, “who cares what medical professionals wear”?  While I agree that we live in a much more casual society than even 20 years ago, I do believe that it decreases the level of professionalism and respect for the profession when medical professionals are constantly wearing their “hospital uniform” outside of the work setting. Just something to consider.

(Wearing scrubs out of the hospital, even to cut your grass will NOT lead to discipline by the State Medical Board of Ohio.)

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