Allied Healthcare Licensing, Regulation Targeted for Organizational Revamp
Companion Bills Introduced as House Bill 617 and Senate Bill 366
Nov. 15, 2016 -- One week after the end of the 2016 election season and just six weeks shy of the end of the 131st General Assembly session, twin bills have been introduced for hearings and appear to be poised for a push to passage by the end of the calendar year. With strong backing from legislative leaders and the Governor's Office of Health Transformation, the 450-page measures seek to insulate Ohio's healthcare regulators from legal liability and anti-trust attack, abolish several independent agencies by apportioning functions to other, larger existing entities and/or forming newer umbrella licensing structures, and reduce redundant bureaucratic oversight processes.
The new boards formed would be charged with, among other things, establishing a code of ethical practice for individuals licensed, certified, or registered by that board and that "the board shall define unprofessional conduct [to] include engaging in a dual relationship with a client or former client, committing an act of sexual abuse, misconduct, or exploitation of a client or former client, and, except as permitted by law, violating client confidentiality."
The Physical Health Services Board would assume responsibility for administering the licensure and regulation of Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Athletic Trainers licensing as well as Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics.
The Behavioral Health Professionals Board would consolidate regulation of Chemical Dependency Professionals; Counselors and Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists; and Board of Psychology stakeholders.
The Vision and Hearing Professional Board would aggregate functions of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; Optometrists and Optical Dispensers; and Hearing Aid Dealers and Fitters.
A Fact Sheet on the initiative states: "Reforming Ohio’s medical professional licensing board structure will minimize legal vulnerabilities related to antitrust laws, align board licensing and regulation with modern clinical standards and practices, promote coordination to better detect and act upon professional misconduct, and create smaller, more efficient government to achieve taxpayer savings."