Prescribing to Patients Following a Sudden Office Closure FAQs

The board has become aware of physicians who have closed their practices due to criminal charges or other sudden, unanticipated events. These closures leave large numbers of patients who are being prescribed controlled substances and medication assisted treatment without prescribers to oversee their care. Prescribers have concerns in taking over the prescribing for patients in these situations due to the prior prescriptions and the possible need to wean the patients from high doses. The following FAQs provide guidance to prescribers on this issue.


Q1: The office of a prescriber in my area was suddenly closed due to criminal charges related to prescribing. There are many patients in my community who need medical care to manage their controlled substance prescriptions. I would like to provide care to these patients but I am concerned that prescribing to patients who are already on high doses will jeopardize my license. What are the Medical Board’s requirements in these situations?

A: The State Medical Board is aware of the challenges facing prescribers who are undertaking care of patients in sudden office closure situations. In those situations, the board understands that the prescriber may have some patients for which the prescribing is not typical of their regular practice. The State Medical Board of Ohio has developed detailed rules regarding prescribing of controlled substances with a focus on patient safety. The board expects the physician to appropriately document the rationale for medication choice and dosage and to make reasonable attempts to comply with all applicable rules while the patient is being weaned from high doses. The board will not initiate a disciplinary action for prescribers who are following an appropriate weaning program that brings the patient in compliance within six months.  However, in the event substance abuse treatment is needed, those patients must be referred to qualified substance abuse treatment providers.

This response applies only to those situations where prescribers are undertaking care of patients following a sudden office closure.

Click the appropriate link to access the Medical Board’s rules on acute, subacute and chronic prescribing and OARRS


Q2: The office of a prescriber providing medication assisted treatment was suddenly closed due to criminal charges related to prescribing. There are many patients in my community who need care and management of medication assisted treatment. I have obtained a DEA waiver to provide medication assisted treatment. Are there other requirements I must follow in treating these patients?

A: The Medical Board has rules regarding office-based opioid treatment which means medication-assisted treatment in a private office or public sector clinic that is not otherwise regulated which may be accessed here. Any location where a prescriber is treating more than thirty individuals for opioid dependence or addiction using a controlled substance must obtain a license as a terminal distributor of dangerous drugs with an office-based opioid treatment (OBOT) classification. More information regarding the terminal distributor license may be accessed here.