COLUMBUS—State Representatives Stephen Huffman (R-Tipp City) and Robert Sprague (R-Findlay) today applauded the Ohio House’s passage of legislation that would encourage physicians to immediately seek treatment should they become addicted to alcohol or drugs.

“I was pleased to see House Bill 145 pass out of the House today and I was honored to sponsor it with Representative Sprague,” said Rep. Huffman. “I believe that this bill will prompt more practitioners to seek help and ultimately attain recovery from addiction. Its passage is an important step for the medical community and the overall fight against substance abuse in the state of Ohio.”

House Bill 145 would require the State Medical Board to establish the “One-Bite” treatment program for health care practitioners who become impaired by alcohol, drugs, or other substances. A confidential program, One-Bite would only be available to physicians who have been not been previously sanctioned for impairment.

“Many times, physicians are scared to seek help and ruin their livelihood.  This legislation will standardize the One-Bite process, which was created to ensure physicians have the ability to seek help when they have a problem,” said Rep. Sprague. “Furthermore, by giving physicians an opportunity to seek help, this legislation improves patient safety by making sure that individuals aren’t being treated by impaired providers.”

The goal of this legislation is to provide physicians—who are just as likely to develop a substance addiction as any other citizen—with access to a strict treatment regimen without immediately receiving severe disciplinary action and losing their license. Those participating in the program must suspend their practice until the treatment provider determines that the individual is no longer impaired and is able to practice according to acceptable standards of care.

House Bill 145 now heads to the Ohio Senate for consideration.

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