Issue #27 April/May 2020


This CPPPH newsletter aims to keep readers abreast of current developements and relevant information about physician health and wellbeing in California.

All past issues of CPPPH newsletter are available from the CPPPH website:


Wellness activities address quality of life and professional satisfaction for all physicians. Wellbeing activities focus on an individual physician and provide resources for identifying, evaluating, referring, treating, and monitoring for physicians when addiction, mental health, behavioral issues, and the effects of aging are a concern.

Confidential Assistance Over the Phone

The Physicans’ and Dentists’ Confidential Assistance Line is a 24-hour phone service providing completely confidential doctor-to-doctor assistance for physicians experiencing substance use or mental health issues. Call:

  • (650) 756-7787
    (northern California)
  • (213) 383-2691
    (southern California)


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Monitoring in the Age of COVID-19

Face-to-face meetings and observed urine collection for drug testing are essential elements of the agreements for monitoring the recovery of a physician with a substance use disorder. Both those elements are now either impossible or unusually difficult as we comply with the social distancing mandate occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, meetings by video conference are replacing the in-person sessions, and people have been instructed to go to testing-only sites, not general labs, to avoid settings where there are more than one or two persons.
Telehealth monitoring group sessions are proving very effective, according to Francine Farrell, of Pacific Assistance Group Northern California. She describes 90-minute meetings with 8 participants held either once or twice a week via a HIPPA-compliant service (Secure Video). Tracy Zemansky of Pacific Assistance Group Southern California has a similar experience describing some advantages, particularly for those living and working in geographically remote areas. She reports that physicians referred to her for monitoring can complete intake via a video meeting with her.


RCMA Annual Conference

The 32nd Annual Western States Regional Conference on Physicians’ Well-Being has been moved from May 20 to Wednesday, October 30. For details, see This highly respected annual meeting continues to be endorsed by California Medical Association (CMA), California Public Protection & Physician Health (CPPPH), and California Society of Addition Medicine (CSAM).
The program always includes several hour-long breakout sessions on specific topics. This year there will be two on medical staff wellbeing committees with Shelley Carder, Esq., whose law practice specializes in matters related to medical staff governance. Carder says she finds a continuing need for information for newly elected medical staff officers and newly appointed wellbeing committee members about the legal guidelines for the establishment of the medical staff’s wellbeing committee, and then advanced practices tailored to the unique needs of each medical staff. Her breakout sessions are titled PWBC 101 and PWBC 201.
Two other breakout sessions will be Drug Testing & Monitoring Update with Greg Skipper, MD and Leadership Communication Strategies When Addressing Disruptive Colleagues with Chris Searles, MD.


CPPPH Video Conference on May 20 for Wellbeing Committees.

In cooperation with the CSAM Committee on Physician Wellbeing, CPPPH is beginning a series of video conferences designed for wellbeing committees of medical staffs and medical groups. The first will be on Wednesday, May 20, beginning at noon. Instructions for how to participate and a link to the join conference will be sent to all who have attended a CPPPH workshop or a CSAM workshop for wellbeing committees in the past. If others would like to receive that information, they should email a request to

FSPHP San Diego Meeting Cancelled.

The Federation of State Physician Health Programs 2020 meeting that was to have been in San Diego at the end of April has been cancelled – a casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone is invited to the 2021 meeting in Minneapolis from Thursday, April 29 to Sunday, May 2, 2021.

Available from CPPPH

You can read all the past issues of CPPPH eNews HERE.
Five CPPPH guideline documents are available HERE.



Issue #27, April/May 2020

Our mailing address is:
One Capital Mall, Suite 800
Sacramento, California 95814

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