AMCNO Continues Discussions on One-Bite Issue

The AMCNO continues to work with other state medical associations on the State Medical Board of Ohio (SMBO) proposed revisions to the one-bite rule for physicians.  The “One-Bite” program was originally established for resident physicians, but was eventually extended to physicians, podiatrists, anesthesiology assistants and physician assistants. The program assists individuals recovering from substance abuse, and physicians who have physical or mental impairments.

The program exists to provide a one-time (“one bite”) exception through which an impaired physician may escape Medical Board intervention to seek treatment for substance abuse or physical or mental impairments. Of concern to the AMCNO and others is whether the SMBO will require mandatory reporting to the SMBO to determine if the practitioner is eligible for the One-Bite program. If mandatory reporting were to occur it would eliminate the anonymity of the program and could result in physicians who want help to avoid obtaining treatment for fear of being publicly exposed and harming their careers – which could ultimately have an impact on patient care.

As the discussions have continued on this important topic, the SBMO has agreed to have bi-weekly meetings with representatives from the Ohio Physicians Health Plan (OPHP) in an effort to address changes in the existing rules. In addition, the OPHP and the medical associations involved in these discussions are reviewing how one-bite programs operate in other states – and we continue to support the use of the OPHP, rather than the SMBO to determine one-bite program eligibility.

The SMBO and OPHP work group will continue meeting over the next few months and will be providing progress in the near future. The AMCNO will also continue to participate in the discussions as the debate on this important issue continues.

Click here to view a letter sent to the SMBO last summer by the AMCNO, the Ohio State Medical Association, the Ohio Osteopathic Association, Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Association, Columbus Medical Association, The Academy of Medicine of Cleveland & Northern Ohio, Ohio Academy of Family Physicians, Ohio Foot and Ankle Medical Association, American College of Emergency Physicians – Ohio Chapter, and the Ohio Society of Addiction Medicine. 

For more information on the OPHP one-bite program, click here.

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