Ohio physicians: Suspension of your medical license may be just the start of your troubles

The State Medical Board of Ohio has the authority to take a disciplinary action against a physician’s professional license ranging from a Public Reprimand, to suspension, probation, or revocation. In addition, as noted in a previous post, effective September 29, 2015, the Medical Board was granted the authority by the Ohio General Assembly to issue a monetary fine against physicians (or Physician Assistants) found to be in violation of the Medical Practice Act (R.C. 4730 &4731). (See January 11, 2017 blog post about monetary fines).

In addition to a Medical Board disciplinary action, physicians should also be aware that if they are subjected to discipline by the Medical Board, they may also face additional repercussions to their professional practice and livelihood including, but not limited to:

Public Record: All final actions of the Medical Board constitute a public record. The general public will be able to review a summary of the disciplinary action and a copy of the Notice of Opportunity for Hearing, Consent Agreement, or Adjudication Order with Report and Recommendation at the e-license verification page located at: https://elicense.ohio.gov/OH_HomePage.
NPDB: Disciplinary actions of the Medical Board are reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB). While the NPDB is not available to the general public, the following eligible entities have access to information on the NPDB: The Department of Health and Human Services, hospitals, health centers, health plans, medical malpractice payors, and state licensing boards. A health care organization can run a continuous query on practitioner reports. Therefore, as soon as you receive discipline from the Board, it is likely your employer will learn about it.
DEA action: A physician’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) license will be suspended during any period of medical licensure suspension. Criminal fines and/or imprisonment are available for any person who knowingly or intentionally (i) possesses a listed chemical with the intent to manufacture a controlled substance without proper registration; (ii) possesses or distributes a listed chemical with knowledge or a reasonable belief that the listed chemical will be used to manufacture a controlled substance; or (iii) evades the Controlled Substance Act’s recordkeeping and reporting requirements by receiving or distributing listed chemicals in small units. Violators of the aforementioned provisions may also be enjoined for up to ten years from handling listed chemicals. The physician must apply to have the DEA reinstated after his or her medical license is reinstated;
Hospital Privileges: Hospital privileges could be suspended or revoked;
Board certifications: Board certifications that the physician has may be limited, suspended, or revoked;
Sister State Discipline: Other state medical boards in which the physician is licensed can institute disciplinary actions based on the Ohio matter;
Medicare/Medicaid participation: A physician’s participation as a Medicaid/Medicare provider may be subject to revocation, thereby excluding them from obtaining reimbursement for services rendered to Medicare/Medicaid patients;
Third Party Payors (Insurance Company participation): Participation as an approved provider for private insurer(s) could be terminated, thereby excluding the physician from obtaining reimbursement for services rendered to patients insured by such insurer(s); and
Bureau of Worker’s Compensation: The BWC can revoke a physician’s certification in the Health Partnership Program—where they participate in a managed-care program for injured workers—if the provider has a misdemeanor committed in the course of practice, involving moral turpitude, or a conviction that is either a felony, cited under the Controlled Substances Act, or is an act involving dishonesty, fraud or misrepresentation. OAC 4123-6-02.2(B)(5).

While each case is different and each physician who is subjected to a disciplinary action by the Medical Board may not be subject to any or all of these additional actions, it is important to understand and appreciate that a Medical Board action may not be the end of the issues that a physician faces when subjected to a Medical Board disciplinary action.

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

Ohio Medical Board to Impose Monetary Fines

The State Medical Board of Ohio is authorized to impose a range of sanctions against a physician for violating the Board’s laws and rules. The sanctions range from a reprimand to suspension, limitation, revocation or permanent revocation of a medical license. R.C. 4731.22(B)(22).  http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/4731.22v1.  However, for actions that arise AFTER September 29, 2015, in addition to imposing one of the sanctions listed above, the Medical Board is also authorized to impose a monetary fine against a physician for violating the Board’s laws or rules.

The chart listing the range of monetary fines can be found on the Medical Board’s website at: http://www.med.ohio.gov/Portals/0/DNN/PDF-FOLDERS/For-The-Public/FiningGuidelinesIncludingCivilPenalties.pdf.

The monetary fines imposed by the Medical Board are steep. It would be expected that the sanction for being convicted of a felony or crime involved in the practice of medicine would result in a substantial fine; however, even in cases that may appear less egregious the Medical Board is authorized to impose substantial monetary fines. For example:

  • prescribing a controlled substance to self or a family member in violation of OAC 4731-11-08, the Medical Board may impose a fine ranging from $3,000-$10,000, with the “standard fine” being $4,500.00;
  • willfully betraying a professional confidence, the Medical Board may impose a fine ranging from $5,000-$20,000, with the “standard fine” being $9,500.00;
  • supervising a physician assistant, anesthesiology assistant, or radiology assistant without a supervisory plan and approved supervisory agreement may result in a monetary fine ranging from $5,000-$20,000, with the “standard fine” being $9,000.

In addition, the Board Members have made it clear that inability to pay a monetary fine is not a defense. The Medical Board will not look at a licensee’s ability to pay prior to imposing a monetary fine.

As a licensed physician in Ohio, you should be familiar with the Medical Board’s laws and rules which can be found at the Medical Board’s website at: http://www.med.ohio.gov/.  You should also be familiar with the Board’s disciplinary authority.

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