Ohio sports physician guides COVID-19 efforts in new county role, could earn up to $20K

Orthopedic Sports Medicine

Sports medicine specialist Jason Smith, DO, is already clocking long hours as the Toledo-Lucas County (Ohio) Health Board's new part-time medical director, according to The Toledo Blade.

In the temporary role, Dr. Smith is tasked with providing medical guidance to the department on a daily basis, as well as during disease outbreaks. He will also provide medical supervision of all health department clinics.

Dr. Smith was hired March 13 on a temporary basis because the department must have a medical director to be eligible for state funding, according to Johnathan Ross, MD, president of the Toledo-Lucas County Health Board.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, one Toledo city councilman questioned the appointment of a physician not specializing in infectious disease.

Dr. Smith, who joined Cincinnati-based Mercy Health in 2016 as medical director of sports medicine, said he believes he's qualified for the role because he can provide effective communication and team leadership through the COVID-19 crisis.

"Why not put someone like me in there and not take [a physician] out of the ER or take an infectious disease doctor away from working on this pandemic," he said.

The board initially agreed to pay Dr. Smith $100 per hour with a cap of $6,500 through Sept. 13. However, Dr. Smith has already worked 42-plus hours on the department's COVID-19 relief efforts — earning nearly two-thirds of the original cap — so health board members on March 23 voted unanimously to raise the ceiling to $20,000.

Dr. Smith replaces David Grossman, MD, who "mutually separated" from the board after more than three years as part-time medical director.

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