Kasich, GOP lawmakers want to consolidate Ohio's medical licensure boards

Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich and majority GOP lawmakers have proposed legislation to reduce the number of medical licensure boards from 16 to eight and cut the number of board members by 88, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

Lawmakers and the governor say they are responding to antitrust concerns while also seeking to reduce bureaucracy and overhead costs, according to the report.

Consolidating the medical licensure boards and severing 88 board members would redistribute the oversight of 545,000 medical professionals in the state.

To address antitrust concerns, the legislature has proposed bills that would authorize the director of the Ohio Department of Administrative Services to null any board action that is deemed price-fixing or restricting competition, according to the report.  

Some groups worry they will not have a loud enough voice on the consolidated boards and they will be regulated by those who lack expertise in their specialties, according to the report.

Here are six things to know about the proposed consolidation of Ohio's medical licensing boards.

1. Under the proposal, the only medical boards that would not be changed are the dental, nursing and chiropractic boards.

2. Dietitians and respiratory therapists would be included in the State Medical Board, and the pharmacy board would pick up responsibility for licensing home medical equipment, according to the report.

3. The Behavioral Health Professionals Board would encompass the boards that now license psychologists, chemical dependency professionals and counselors, social workers and marriage and family therapists, according to the report.

4. The Vision and Hearing Professionals Board would license speech and language pathologists and audiologists, optometrists, optical dispensers and hearing-aid dealers and fitters, according to the report.

5. The Physical Health Services Board would include occupational and physical therapists, athletic trainers and orthotic, prosthetic and perodorthics specialists.

6. Legislators pushing the proposal hope to see it pass by July 1, according to the report.

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