Regulatory & State Medical Board of Ohio Update
New Confidential Monitoring Program
Over the past year, the State Medical Board of Ohio (SMBO) has been working extensively with the Ohio Physician’s Health Program (OhioPHP) to revise the regulatory structure for physicians in need of help with substance abuse, a mental health condition, or a physical impairment.
The new program is an encouraging move for Ohio’s Board in recognizing the importance the treatment for current impairment, and not discipline. The program will be called the “confidential monitoring program”, which is a complete overhaul to the “one-bite” program currently in place.
This new program provides for individualized treatment plans for each participant, focusing on specific needs of each program participant. Also encouraging, is the program including mental health and physical impairment in the program, not just substance abuse.
Finally, the provision of confidentiality of enrollees with the program facilitated by OhioPHP, a credible third party, gives physicians the confidence to undertake the best treatment of their condition without fear of disciplinary actions against them. Currently, the board is finalizing the regulatory structure of the program, and will begin the standup of the program this fall and winter.
The SMBO will also, effective October 3, be updating wellness questions on initial and renewal licensure questions for physicians. The Board will be removing all current impairment questions and asking only one question about current impairment, which is in line with recommendations from the OSMA, American Medical Association, the Lorna Breen Foundation and the Federation of State Medical Boards. With the success of our advocacy efforts, we are proud of our state Board’s efforts to normalize physician wellness and be a model Board for other states to follow.
Federal No Surprises Act
On August 3, a federal judge vacated the fee increase instituted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for out-of-network providers and health plans, and the No Surprises Act independent dispute resolution process.
CMS had recently increased the fee to initiate the dispute process from $50 to $350, but the judge ruled that CMS violated the notice and comment process in increasing the fee. The order did not require CMS to refund any increased fees paid before August 3, so the $50 fee requirement is effective August 3 and forward.
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