You’ve Got (E-)Mail: Ohio Law Now Allows Licensing Agencies to Serve Disciplinary Actions Exclusively by Email 

December, 2023 - Beth Y. Collis, Daniel S. Zinsmaster, Gregory A. Tapocsi, LaTawnda N. Moore

Recent changes to Ohio law have licensed health care professionals asking themselves when was the last time they confirmed or updated their email address, and other contact information, with agencies like the State Medical Board of Ohio, the Ohio Board of Nursing or the Board of Pharmacy? The impetus for such reflection is that Ohio licensing agencies may now serve significant legal documents exclusively through email, or a last-known fax number, as opposed to registered or certified mail through the United States Postal Service.

On October 3, 2023, Ohio updated and amended Revised Code Chapter 119, the Administrative Practice Act. This change allows Ohio licensing agencies to propose and institute disciplinary action against a license with the only formal notification coming through the person’s last known email address or fax number.

Outside of a few legal exceptions, a licensing agency may now serve documentation via their choice of:

  • Electronic mail at the party’s last known address
  • Facsimile transmission at the party’s facsimile number appearing in the agency’s official records
  • Traceable delivery service at the party’s last known address
  • Personal service at the party’s last known address

For licensed persons and entities, the potential ramifications of missing an email from a licensing board may now mean revocation of a license. Failure to request a hearing after being served a Notice of Opportunity for Hearing can result in default action against the license, oftentimes up to, and including, the permanent revocation of said license.

While legal due process begins with notice that has been “reasonably calculated” to notify a party of an action in order for the party to respond, Ohio agencies may now initiate this notice solely by email – raising questions of legally sufficient notice under due process principles, all at a time when administrative agency deference and authority is being limited.

Best practices and Ohio law require that licensees update their email address with their board(s).  To avoid missing regulatory correspondence, licensed persons and entities should check their email regularly, including spam folders. Correspondence from Ohio licensing agencies requires a timely response, sometimes within weeks. The time starts running as soon as the Board sends the correspondence to the licensed person or entity’s last known email address. Consequently, licensed entities and health care professionals should carefully consider whether they wish to use their personal or business email address(es) and who will have access to correspondence. 

If you have been contacted by your licensing agency or have any questions, please contact your Dinsmore attorney.


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