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.

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