Ohio Bill Impacting Pain Clinics Signed into Law

On May 20, 2011, Ohio governor, John Kasich, signed Ohio House Bill 93 into law. The bill represents an effort by Ohio to strengthen the State’s regulatory framework relating to the prevention of prescription drug abuse. According to the Ohio Department of Health, since 2007, unintentional drug overdoses in the state accounted for more accidental deaths than motor vehicle crashes and suicides combined.

The new law, when it becomes effective, is expected to transform the landscape for the operation of pain management clinics in the State of Ohio. The bill mandates the State Board of Pharmacy to license pain management clinics and, further, provides for the clinics to be licensed as terminal distributors of dangerous drugs with a pain management clinic classification. Moreover, the law will prohibit the operation of a pain clinic without such a license. (The prohibition, however, will be postponed until 30 days following the bill’s effective date). The bill also mandates the State Medical Board to implement rules establishing standards for physicians who provide care at pain management clinics and guidance for the physician operation of such clinics. Finally, the bill also authorizes the State Board of Pharmacy to levy fines (up to $5,000) against pain management clinics and/or the State Medical Board to impose fines (up to $20,000) for failure to comply with the rules of operation or standards for distributors of dangerous drugs with a pain management classification established under the act.

It is imperative for pain management physicians to understand the changes in the regulations that directly govern their practice, especially with the ever-evolving regulatory framework that applies to this area. For more information, please visit THE HEALTH LAW PARTNERS’ Anesthesia and Pain specialty page or contact Abby Pendleton, Esq., Carey Kalmowitz, Esq., or Jessica L. Gustafson, Esq. at (248) 996-8510 or (212) 734-0128, or visit the HLP website.

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