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ODH's Regulatory Ombudsman


The Ohio Department of Health’s (ODH) mission is to protect and improve the health of all Ohioans by preventing disease, promoting good health, and assuring access to quality health care. To accomplish that goal, it is important that we consistently regulate Ohio’s public health structure.

Robert Jennings is the Ohio Department of Health’s Regulatory Ombudsman. In this role, he serves as a problem-solving liaison between the agency and those affected by its rules and processes. As a direct report to the Director of Health, Mr. Jennings is charged with ensuring consumer concerns are addressed at the agency’s executive level.  For questions or concerns, please contact Mr. Jennings by e-mail at, or by phone (614) 466-3543.


Common Sense Initiative
Executive Order 2011-01K, establishing the Common Sense Initiative, was signed into effect on January 10, 2011.


Paperwork/Procedural Violations
Executive Order 2011-01K provides that “penalties should be waived for first-time violators especially for administrative matters such as filing and reporting deadlines. Flexibility and simplicity should be emphasized in order to promote compliance. Enforcement actions should be utilized when necessary for entities that have been unwilling to comply.” See also, Section 119.14 of the Ohio Revised Code.  In order to meet the requirements of the executive order, ODH has adopted the following policy statement.


ODH’s Policy Statement Regarding Paperwork/Procedural Violations
ODH is committed to the goal of ensuring that regulated customers have the opportunity to achieve compliance with ODH's procedural requirements.  Therefore, when it is both feasible and appropriate, ODH will provide one (1) warning letter to a regulated customer who commits a first time or isolated violation of a "minor" paperwork or procedural requirement, such as failing to submit a timely and complete license renewal application or other required documentation to ODH.  ODH will not impose a civil monetary penalty for such a violation, and will give the customer a reasonable amount of time to correct the violation, unless:

  1. the violation constitutes a failure to comply with federal laws or regulations enforced by ODH, and the penalty is mandated by federal law;
  2. the Director of Health or one of his designees has determined that the violation poses an actual or potential threat to the health, safety, or welfare of the general public;
  3. the violation involves knowing or willful conduct that may result in conviction for a felony;
  4. failure to impose the penalty would impede or interfere with the detection of criminal activity; or
  5. the violation pertains to the assessment or collection of any monies owed to the state.

This Policy Statement should not be construed as a waiver of ODH’s authority to enforce any law or regulation requiring a person or entity to obtain a valid permit or license before engaging in regulated activity, or enforce any other state or federal law.


Other Assistance Available for Businesses
ODH’s mission is to protect the health of Ohioans. However, we also recognize the challenges we face as a state in attracting and retaining businesses to maintain a strong economy for Ohio. To help meet both of these goals we strive for timely licensure, certification and permit application reviews that meet business timeframes whenever possible, while continuing our main mission of protecting the health and safety of all Ohioans.

ODH is working to continuously improve the accessibility, flexibility, responsiveness and problem solving involved in our daily activities. As a result, we’ve made several changes to improve the efficiency of our licensure, certification and permit process and are currently reviewing our business practices for other areas of improvement.


Last updated 5/24/12