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Ohio OTPTAT Board Proposes “Safe Haven” Program for Licensees

Published: Jul 05, 2022 by Brandon Smith

The Ohio Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Athletic Trainers Board is in the early stages of establishing a “safe haven” program for licensees and applicants and recently sent out a request for comment on draft administrative Rules.

The proposed “safe haven” program would allow certain practitioners struggling with impairment due to substance abuse or other mental health disorders to avoid formal discipline of their license. The Board intends to provide for confidential early intervention before the impairment poses a risk to the safety of patients.

The proposed Rules governing the program would permit the Board to order its licensees to a mental, physical, or chemical dependency assessment upon receiving information of possible impairment. Failure to submit to the examination would constitute an admission of impairment and could result in formal discipline against the licensee.

The Board would contract with a provider for the program and the provider would monitor participants and report any issues to the Board. An individual who successfully completes the “safe haven” program would not become known to the Board. All information concerning the participation in the program would be maintained confidentially and would not result in public disciplinary action.

The proposed Rules also modify the Codes of Ethics for these professions. Specifically, the “duty to report” and “self-report” would be modified to permit referral to the confidential “safe haven” program rather than to the Board directly.

These Rules are not yet in effect and it is currently unclear when and whether they will become effective. If you are an Ohio occupational therapist, physical therapist, or athletic trainer struggling with mental health or substance abuse, you should consider contacting one of the attorneys at Graff & McGovern, LPA to discuss your current obligation to self-report. Attorney Brandon Smith can be reached at (614) 228-5800, ext. 7 or