In 1973, the American Medical Association (AMA) acknowledged that physician impairment from the use of alcohol and drugs occurs and recognized alcoholism and addiction as illnesses.With the advice and consent from the AMA and the Federation of State Medical Boards, a national initiative was launched to develop therapeutic alternatives in lieu of automatic discipline for physicians who needed assistance. This initiative was implemented by state medical societies and Ohio was one of the first states to participate. In 1975, the Ohio State Medical Association (OSMA) commenced the Physicians Effectiveness Committee (PEC) which established the Physicians Effectiveness Program (PEP) to help physicians impaired by alcohol, drug abuse, mental/emotional problems, and problems of aging. The program began with several volunteer physicians and in less than two years, it grew to approximately 25 physicians throughout Ohio.
During the late 1980s, the PEC began a vigorous campaign to develop a funded, full-time program with professional staff to be named “Ohio Physicians Effectiveness Program” (OPEP). In early 1991, OSMA agreed to be a major sponsor, as well as provider of staff liaison services for the first three years of operation. Soon, other major sources of funding were brought on board that included: the PIE Mutual Insurance Company, Ohio Hospital Association, Ohio Hospital Insurance Company, Ohio Osteopathic Association (OOA), Ohio Veterinary Medical Association, and Physicians Insurance Company of Ohio.
In 1996, the PEC became an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, known as the Ohio Physicians Effectiveness Program (OPEP).Funding for staff and program operations was obtained from the Ohio Medical Quality Foundation (OMQF). This was established through lobbying efforts by OSMA and OOA. Due to the increase of stress and pressure within medicine, OPEP expanded its program services to include educational outreach programs and activities to support the health and wellness of healthcare professionals.In 2004, the organization changed its name to the Ohio Physicians Health Program (OPHP) in order to encompass this broader focus on health and wellness. During this period the organization experienced significant operational growth and expansion of program services. In 2011, the organization updated its mission statement and focused its programmatic efforts on serving as a confidential resource, improving monitoring and advocacy services, and expanding educational outreach programs. An new strategic plan was launched in 2016 to improve efforts of engagement, services, and government relations - advocating for a meaningful one-bite for all Ohio's healthcare professionals.
OPHP in collaboration with Ohio's medical association, OPHP began advocating to the State Medical Board of Ohio (SMBO) for a new One-Bite Program allowing for individualized treatment plans, expansion and clarification of eligibility for the program, and to ensure confidentiality of program participants. In 2018, the Ohio General Assembly passed House Bill 145, establishing a new One-Bite Program that implemented these very features. The One-Bite Program is now available to all individuals licensed by the SMBO. In 2019, OPHP was approved by the State to serve as the sole monitoring organization responsible for determining whether a practitioner is eligible to participate in the One-Bite Program and for conducting the One-Bite Program. Participants records and information are protected by law from being disclosed to the SMBO.