A new law in Ohio will soon make it easier for experienced visiting international physicians to receive hands-on training at Cincinnati Children’s

On June 6, 2012, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed into law a bill that creates a Visiting Clinical Professional Development Certificate that will allow non-U.S. physicians to interact directly with patients for up to one year under close supervision by a U.S. physician. Allowed activities will include taking medical histories,  conducting physical examinations, performing surgical procedures, administering anesthesia, and  doing radiologic studies. Previously, visiting doctors could only observe procedures unless they passed full-blown U.S. medical exams.

Cincinnati Children’s championed efforts to pass the bill, with support from the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals of Cleveland, the Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University,  Nationwide Children's, and the University of Cincinnati.

“Increasingly our expertise is recognized in the global market, and experienced international medical graduates seek opportunities to learn advanced treatments and technologies to expand medical capabilities in their home countries,” says Arnold Strauss, MD, Chair of Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, who testified in March in support of the legislation. “This bill will allow Ohio to be a leader in training international physician faculty from medical schools throughout the world.”

Visiting Clinical Professional Development Certificates include several requirements.  Applicants must:

  • Be accepted into a clinical professional development program by a medical school or a teaching hospital affiliated with a medical school.
  • Have a medical degree obtained from an institution listed in the International Medical Education Directory.
  • Have practiced medicine for at least five years after completing graduate medical education, including postgraduate residency and advanced training.
  • Have credentials verified by the Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates or the Federation Credentials Verification Service.
  • Hold a current unrestricted license to practice medicine issued in another country.
  • Agree to comply with all state and federal laws including health privacy.
  • Agree to return to the applicant’s home state or country after training is completed.

Visiting physicians will not be allowed to:

  • Write orders or prescribe medicine
  • Bill for services
  • Take a position in a residency or fellowship program
  • Have this training count toward graduate medical education requirements
  • Remain in Ohio to practice medicine

Cincinnati Children’s had more than 170 non-U.S. physicians participating in observership programs in the past year. The medical center expects visitors to be practicing under the new rules by mid-2013, says Julie Morin, MHSA, regional manager for International Business Development at Cincinnati Children’s Global Health Center.

“We have had many doctors over the years asking for this type of training. They’ve said ‘We can do this in Canada and the United Kingdom, so why not the United States?’” Morin says.

The new law moves Ohio to the leading edge of training opportunities for international physicians. Of 69 states and other medical licensing jurisdictions in the U.S. and its territories, only nine others have similar types of temporary licensing rules.

Cincinnati Children’s has exchange programs with about two dozen pediatric medical institutions worldwide. Physicians involved in those programs will be among the first to benefit from the new certificates.

For more information about the Visiting Clinical Professional Development Certificate, contact Julie Morin at Julie.Morin@cchmc.org.