Concerns about Ohio’s health care laws
Every person who comes to see a physician, regardless of the medical problem, expects the most accurate and up-to-date medical care and has entrusted the physician to deliver just that. As physicians, we rely on scientific facts and evidence-based practices to provide our patients with the highest standards of care. We follow established clinical guidelines provided by national academies and associations, as well as the published results of research studies that detail the latest, proven standards of care. To have the Ohio legislature overturn these standards makes no sense, but that is exactly what happened in the state budget last summer.
As health care professionals in Ohio, we have been asked to deviate from the established protocols and guidelines that shape evidence-based medical practice and to comply laws put in place by politicians, not doctors. How should we provide care that is safe, individualized, and medically-appropriate if we are told to ignore our ethical and established medical standards?
For example, the Ohio legislature passed a bill that requires mifepristone (for medication abortion) to be prescribed in accordance with the outdated FDA-approved protocol, which is based on a regimen developed in 1988. This protocol requires two extra office visits and three times the evidence-based dose. Other countries began changing this regimen almost immediately when scientific studies provided new conclusions about the drug. Yet, here in Ohio, we are the only state to require a dosage regimen that costs significantly more, is less accessible, and harder to administer. Why would the Ohio legislature want physicians to administer drugs in a possibly harmful way when a safer, more effective and more reliable alternative exists?
The state budget was not the only dangerous restriction this Ohio legislature has pushed between us and our patients. Representative Ron Hood (R-Ashville) introduced HB 200 which would require physicians to tell women seeking to terminate her pregnancy that there is a link between abortion and breast cancer, a false claim according to the American Cancer Society and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
These laws, created without any research or practical experience, laws which negatively impact women’s health, substitute ideology for medical judgment and allow politicians to play doctor. The Doctor/Patient Protection Act, introduced this week by Representative Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent), would protect physicians and other health care providers who follow scientific- and evidenced- based standards of care and guarantees that these providers are not forced into choosing between the health of their patients and the repercussions of the law. It is shamefully unbelievable that this has happened in the state of Ohio in the year 2014. Clyde’s is the law we need to enact to protect patients and health care professionals.
ELISE DEVORE BERLAN, M.D., MPH, FAAP Columbus
JANE BROECKER, M.D., FACOG Athens
ROB CRANE, M.D Columbus
MICHAEL DEVEREAUX, M.D. Cleveland
THOMAS W. FILARDO, M.D. Cincinnati
MARCIE GROESBECK, M.D. Fairlawn
ARTHUR LAVIN, M.D. Cleveland
GRANT MORROW, M.D. Columbus
LISA PERRIERA, M.D., MPH Cleveland
SUSAN QUINN, O.D., FAAO Athens
BARBARA B. TOBIAS, M.D. Cincinnati
ABBIE YOUKILIS, M.D. Cincinnati
NORA L. ZORICH, M.D., Ph.D. Cincinnati