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While the Ohio State Medical Board need not, in every case, present expert testimony to support a charge against an accused physician, the charge must be supported by some reliable, probative and substantial evidence.
Appellant medical board brought a charge against the appellee physician, alleging that his practice of prescribing certain Schedule II drugs, on a long-term basis, as part of a weight loss program fell below the acceptable standard of medical practice. At the hearing, expert witnesses testified that the physician's practice, though considered the minority view on weight loss, was not unacceptable. The appellant medical board, on the other hand, presented no testimony or other evidence of the applicable standard of care. The hearing examiner found that the appellee physician’s practices violated R.C. 4731.22(B), and recommended subjecting appellee to a three-year monitored probation period. The board modified the penalty, imposing a one-year suspension of appellee’s license. Appellee appealed to the Court of Common Pleas of Franklin County pursuant to R.C. 119.12, which ultimately found that the board’s order was not supported by reliable, probative, and substantial evidence. Appellant medical board sought review.
Did the common pleas court err by finding that the board's order was not supported by sufficient evidence?
The court ruled that the common pleas court properly determined that there was insufficient evidence to support the medical board's determination. While acknowledging that expert testimony was not always needed to establish substandard medical care, the court ruled that the medical board was not at liberty to convert its disagreement with the experts' testimony into affirmative evidence of unacceptable medical practice. In so ruling, the court noted that, at the time of the charge, the physician's practice was not prohibited by statute. The fact that it was later prohibited by Ohio Admin. Code § 4731-11-03(B) would only become applicable if the physician continued to prescribe such medications for long-term care in the future.