State medical board updates progress on changes due to Strauss cases

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The State Medical Board of Ohio provided an update Tuesday on where they are in terms of implementing recommendations set forth by a task force Governor Mike DeWine put together to look into how the Dr. Richard Strauss investigation was handled.

Settlements have been made with victims of former Ohio State University doctor, of which there are more than 300.​

The working group learned that the medical board is about 75 percent complete on the implementation of the recommendations. Legislative issues make up the bulk of the unfinished business.​

According to the Executive Director for the State Medical Board of Ohio Stephanie Loucka, legislative issues require a lot of work, but that work has begun.​ In the meantime, other recommendations are already showing great promise. ​

The confidential complaint hotline that was activated in November 2019 has received hundreds of calls, according to Loucka, resulting in 44 substantiated investigations. One of those investigations is for sexual misconduct.​

Another positive impact the recommendations have had are four complaints that were received via an online portal from peers of medical professionals.

These are the first complaints to be registered via this platform, and Loucha credits the work of the task force and working group for helping lead the medical board to this opportunity.​

Director for the Ohio Department of Public Safety Tom Stickrath also announced at the meeting that he has talked with DeWine and updated him on the progress the State Medical Board is making on the recommendations.​ According to Stickrath, if the medical board can maintain its efforts, the need for oversight on this matter may not be necessary for much longer.​

“If thing’s continue to progress and we have that rate of compliance, then at some point we’ll sunset this committee, or the governor will sunset this committee, close out probably with a report,” said Stickrath.​

He went on to say, there would still be a need to monitor training. This would ensure that it is being done properly and touching on issues that were at the root cause of the situation to begin with.​

As for the medical board, Loucka explained that even when they reach 100% compliance, they will not be finished. ​

“I think it’s certainly fair to say that most of this work needs to continue to evolve forever, and we need to constantly be looking at our process and constantly be looking at our culture and making those improvements,” said Loucka.​

The State Medical Board of Ohio has been working to implement recommendations since they were handed down last August. It has created an interactive graphic to share their progress in this area and in others, in an attempt to increase transparency with the public, the working group, and their staff.​

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