Medscape Medical News—Physician Health Programs: More Harm Than Good? State-Based Programs Under Fire

Disrupted Physician

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 9.11.46 AMMedscape Medical News > Psychiatry

Physician Health Programs: More Harm Than Good?
State-Based Programs Under Fire
Pauline Anderson
August 19, 2015

There is growing scrutiny of US physician health programs (PHPs), which are state-based plans for doctors with substance abuse or other mental health problems.

Detractors of the PHP system claim physicians who voluntarily disclose they have mental health or drug problems can be forced into treatment without recourse, face expensive contracts, and are frequently sent out of their home state to receive the prescribed therapy. Some physicians allege that during their interaction with the treatment centers, large amounts of money were demanded up front before any assessment was even conducted.

In addition, critics assert that there is no real oversight and regulation of these programs.

Called by turns coercive, controlling, and secretive, with possible conflicts of interest, some say the PHP experience has led vulnerable physicians to contemplate suicide.

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