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Ohio state laws and regulations that affect your medical practice

What is the professional standard of practice for physicians?

In Ohio, a licensee is required to meet certain ethical standards of practice as determined by the applicable professional association, such as the AMA, in the case of physicians. The American Medical Association (“AMA”) offers guidance through its “Principles of Medical Ethics.” Specifically, the AMA dictates that a physician must:

  • be dedicated to providing competent medical care with compassion and respect;
  • uphold standards of professionalism (i.e., practice honesty in professional interactions, report fraud or deficiency of other physicians);
  • respect the law and advocate for the best interests of the patients;

  • respect rights of patients, colleagues, and other professionals, as well as protect patient privacy;.
  • continue to study, apply, and advance scientific knowledge, and share such knowledge with the community;

  • be free to choose whom to serve (except in emergencies), with whom to associate, and the environment in which to provide medical care;
  • recognize a responsibility to participate in activities that improve the community;

  • regard responsibility to the patient as paramount;
  • support access to medical care for all people;

available at https://catalog.ama-assn.org/Catalog/home.jsp

What are grounds for disciplinary action?

Examples of acts for which physicians may be disciplined include, but are not limited to:

  • permitting his/her certificate to practice to be used by another person not directing the treatment given to a patient

  • failure to follow standards in the selection or administration of drugs
  • prescribing drugs for other than legal and legitimate purposes

  • willfully betraying a professional confidence
  • making false, fraudulent, deceptive or misleading statements in soliciting/advertising for patients

  • departure from minimal standards of care of similar practitioners under similar circumstances
  • obtaining money or anything of value by fraudulent misrepresentations in the course of practice

  • an act that constitutes a misdemeanor
  • excessive use of drugs, alcohol, or other substances that impair ability to practice

OH ST § 4731.22

While not binding, the State Medical Board of Ohio has issued Disciplinary Guidelines (Rev. Apr. 2002), which may be used by the Board for reference and guidance in disciplinary proceedings.

Available at http://med.ohio.gov/pdf/meddis.pdf

If a physician violates a standard of practice, what penalties may the board impose?

According to the Disciplinary Guidelines, each act warranting discipline carries with it a maximum and minimum penalty. For example, in disciplining a physician for “publishing a false, deceptive, or misleading statement, the maximum penalty is permanent revocation of the physician’s certificate, while the minimum penalty is a reprimand.

Available at http://med.ohio.gov/pdf/meddis.pdf

Are there any aggravating or mitigating factors that justify a departure from the guidelines?

Yes, the Board takes aggravating and mitigating factors are into account when disciplining a physician. Aggravating factors include, but are not limited to, prior disciplinary conduct, multiple violations, refusal to acknowledge wrongful nature of conduct, and willful or reckless misconduct.

Mitigating factors include, but are not limited to, no prior disciplinary record, absence of a dishonest/selfish motive, remorse, and absence of willful or reckless misconduct.

Copyright © Kern Augustine Conroy and Schoppmann, P.C. Used with permission.

Updated 2008

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