July 2019 Newsletter from the State Medical Board of Ohio

July 2019 Newsletter

We are pleased to partner with the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy on enhanced reporting from OARRS, Ohio's Automated Rx Reporting System.  

Thanks to your intensified efforts, opioids prescribed to Ohio patients declined for the sixth consecutive year in 2018. Between 2012 and 2018, the total number of opioids dispensed to Ohio patients decreased by 325 million doses or 41 percent. Ohio was the first state in the country to offer statewide integration directly into electronic medical records and pharmacy dispensing systems. Integration has dramatically increased the average number of daily OARRS requests by health care providers. Last year, the average number of OARRS requests per weekday exceeded 500,000 for the first time on record. Ohio has been ranked by the American Medical Association for having the highest number of prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) queries of any state.


We encourage all licensees – not just prescribers – to reacquaint themselves with OARRS requirements, including:

  • Mandatory checks of patients in OARRS. To assist providers in complying with this requirement, OARRS has a Prescriber Self-check Tool (click for step-by-step instructions to obtain a report of patients that were not checked)
  • The need for an active OARRS account if prescribing opioids or benzodiazepines
  • Including ICD-10 codes on prescriptions for all controlled substances
  • Regulations when prescribing opioids for acute, subacute, and chronic conditions 
Board Seeks Subject Matter Experts

The State Medical Board of Ohio has been tasked with reviewing the petitions to add qualifying medical conditions to the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (OMMCP). The board is currently seeking qualified subject matter experts to review the materials submitted in support of these petitions.

The next period for petitions of proposed diseases or conditions will be November 1, 2019, to December 31, 2019, with the review by subject-matter experts immediately to follow.

Pursuant to Ohio Administrative Code 4731-32-05, the petition must detail:
(1) The name and contact information for the person submitting the petition;
(2) The specific disease or condition requested to be added as a qualifying condition;
(3) Information from experts who specialize in the study of the disease or condition;
(4) Relevant medical or scientific evidence pertaining to the disease or condition;
(5) Consideration of whether conventional medical therapies are insufficient to treat or alleviate the disease or condition;
(6) Evidence supporting the use of medical marijuana to treat or alleviate the disease or condition, including journal articles, peer-reviewed studies, and other types of medical or scientific documentation;
(7) Letters of support provided by physicians with knowledge of the disease or condition. This may include a letter provided by the physician treating the petitioner, if applicable.

The subject matter expert shall render a written opinion on the suitability of medical marijuana for the proposed disease or condition within 45 days following receipt of the materials to be reviewed. Board personnel will communicate instructions to the expert as to the format of the report. We anticipate the report from a subject matter expert to be 2-5 pages in length.

If you are interested in becoming a subject matter expert reviewer, please submit a completed questionnaire and a current copy of your curriculum vitae to donald.davis@med.ohio.gov. Following receipt of this information, your name will be added to our list of subject matter experts. When the board receives a petition matching your background, experience, and specialty, board personnel will contact you with further details.
    New Resources Available for Chronic and Subacute Pain Prescribing 
    Ohio's chronic and subacute pain prescribing rules became effective in December 2018. We have released a new video and handout highlighting the chronic and subacute opioid prescribing limits. These resources will help you learn more about the rules, best pain management practices and safer pain medication use. 

    Click below to watch the brief video.

     Click here to view and download the one-page overview.
    ohio medical marijuana control program update

    The State Medical Board of Ohio discussed petitions it received to add qualifying conditions to Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program during its June 12, 2019 meeting. The board voted to reject the petitions for depression, insomnia and opioid use disorder but decided to table votes on autism spectrum disorder and anxiety for additional discussion and review. Read more hereIf approved, these additions to the qualifying conditions will be added to the Ohio Administrative Code and updated on medicalmarijuana.ohio.gov

    By the Numbers
    Ohio dispensaries began selling medical marijuana to patients and caregivers i
    n January. To date, there are 19 dispensaries operating. Total product sales through June 23 is $11.5 million with 1,377 pounds of plant material and 18,130 units of manufactured product.

    As of May 31, the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program reports:

    • 512 Physicians with Certificates to Recommend (CTR)
    • 42,372 Recommendations
    • 35,162 Registered patients with recommendations
      • 2,677 Patients with Veteran Status
      • 1,434 Patients with Indigent Status
      • 385 Patients with a Terminal Diagnosis
    • 20,074 Unique patients who purchased medical marijuana (as reported to OARRS by licensed dispensaries)
    • 3,299 Registered Caregivers

      Ohio physicians interested in recommending medical marijuana can learn more about the certificate to recommend process here.

      Free Opioid Tapering Webinar
      On Monday, July 22nd at 3:00 p.m. the Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic will host a free public webinar on opioid tapering. The webinar will utilize experts in the field who will discuss current guidance for opioid tapering, how it is applied in practice, and the strength of the evidence behind it. Click for additional information and to register.

      New EMS Public Record Exemptions

      The State Medical Board of Ohio is asking the following health care professionals to update their contact information so the board can better manage their records in accordance with Ohio law.

      If you work as:

      • An EMS medical director
      • An EMS Regional Physician Advisory Board (RPAB) member
      • A correctional institution employee
      • A youth services employee
      Please take a moment to complete the short survey below*
      *If you have already submitted the survey, you do not need to complete it again. 

      Office Closure

      The Medical Board’s office will be closed on Thursday, July 4 in observance of Independence Day. We will reopen at 8 a.m. on Friday, July 5.
      Board Meeting Dates
      The Medical Board meets each month in the Administrative Hearing Room on the 3rd floor of the Rhodes Office Tower, 30 East Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio, 43215.

      The meeting agendas and minutes are available here on the board's website.
      2019 Meetings
      July 10
      August 14
      September 11
      October 16
      November 13
      December 11
      Manage Pain, Prevent Addiction

      Take Charge Ohio features resources for providers and patients to help educate about opioid addiction, its impact in Ohio, and how to take action using these free, ready-to-use resources.

      TakeChargeOhio.org >
      No More Paper

      The medical board is no longer accepting paper applications, renewal applications or license verification requests.
      All of these items need to be completed electronically through the eLicense portal.

      eLicense.ohio.gov >

      Monthly Formal Action Report

      Review summary descriptions of the disciplinary actions initiated and the disciplinary sanctions imposed by the medical board at its monthly meeting. Individual's license information can be found on eLicense.

      Monthly Formal Actions >

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