COLUMBUS — A Sylvania Township podiatrist has joined the Ohio State Medical Board regulating doctors and other medical professionals at a time when the medical landscape is changing.
“The main thing is protecting the public. That’s the most important thing the board does,” said Dr. Bruce Saferin, a member of the Toledo Clinic Inc., a multispecialty physician group.
“The challenge is always to make sure that the citizens are being protected,” he said. “The board does a wonderful job. There’s a lot going on just like every other place.”
Dr. Saferin was recently appointed by Gov. John Kasich to the 12-member board that regulates, licenses, and disciplines some 55,000 Ohio physicians, physician assistants, massage therapists, cosmetic therapists, anesthesiology assistants, and acupuncturists.
His term is through Dec. 27, 2017.
The board still has two vacancies.
Dr. Saferin is among nine physician representatives on the panel.
He is a past president of the former Ohio Podiatric Medical Association, now the Ohio Foot and Ankle Medical Association. He received the Champion of Podiatry Award from the group. He is also a past board member of the American Podiatric Medical Association.
Dr. Saferin joined the board at a time when Ohio and the nation are preparing for full implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act, which, among other things, mandates that most Americans have health coverage by Jan. 1 or face potential tax penalties.
“We do not truly understand yet all the ramifications of Obama-care,” he said. “We don’t truly understand what it will do to our health system. Yes, things are going to change as to what’s covered, what’s not covered, how we get care. Certainly the board is going to have to do what it has to do.”
As a board member, Dr. Saferin has already overseen disciplinary hearings for fellow physicians.
“I equate it with very smart people doing very dumb things at times,” he said.
“They put themselves in a position where they have to be disciplined … They learn from their mistakes. The process is extremely fair. The board goes to the nth degree to make sure it has all the information, has dotted all the I’s, and crossed all the T’s, to make sure due process happens.”
Dr. Saferin received his undergraduate degree at Cleveland State University and his medical degree from the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine in Cleveland.