This CPPPH newsletter aims to keep readers abreast of current developements and relevant information about physician health and wellbeing in California.
All past issues are available from the CPPPH website: www.CPPPH.org.
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:
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Drug Testing 2022
A new guideline document, Drug Testing 2022, will be the basis for CPPPH/CSAM videoconferences on September 22 and October 20. The guideline discusses medical staff policies and SOPs (standard operating procedures), with advice regarding advance preparation, for obtaining useful reports of drug tests when done “for cause” or in response to a reasonable suspicion, or when done post-accident, or as part of an evaluation, or, in some cases, part of a monitoring program.
Until its release in November, the CPPPH/CSAM guideline will be available only as part of the syllabus materials for the video sessions with Gregory Skipper, MD and Tom Curtis, a member of the Healthcare Practice Group of the law firm NOSSAMAN LLP in Irvine. CLICK HERE for details of the videoconference.
Monitoring as Done by PHPs
An article in the American Journal on Addictions reports a study of the elements that comprise monitoring programs in Physician Health Programs, asking successful graduates of the PHPs in eight different states how helpful they considered each element to be in their successful completion of the program. Included is a table showing the range of costs — how much the participant had to pay for each element. While random drug and alcohol testing was in the top 5 of “most to least valuable”, it was not considered the most helpful element. For a copy of the article, Am J Addict. 2022;31:115–122 CLICK HERE
Washington’s Physician Health Program
Editor’s Note: Starting with the last issue, we will be including in each issue of this newsletter a snapshot of a physician health program in another state. In the last issue, it was about Colorado.
Chris Bundy, MD, the Executive Medical Director of the Washington State Physician Health Program, described the program this way in the WPHP’s 2021 Annual Report:
“Our work is based on a simple and highly effective model—confidential help, not discipline— deployed with accountability, consistency, and excellence. None of this would be possible without the support of the licensees whose surcharges underwrite our work; the courageous compassion of those who reach out to us each year on behalf of themselves or a peer; the collaboration among the employers, organizations, professional associations, Boards and Commissions with whom we partner; and the dedication of our volunteer Board of Directors to guide our mission.“
The program was begun in 1986 by a group of members of the Washington State Medical Association who wanted their colleagues to receive treatment rather than discipline when illness threatened safe practice. It is now a 36-year old independent, physician-led, nonprofit organization with 75% of its budget coming from licensure fees. The remaining 25% comes half from fees charged to participants and half from donations and other sources.
With a staff of fifteen, WPHP (wphp.org) provides its services to Allopathic, Osteopathic, and Podiatric Physicians, Physician Assistants, Dentists, Veterinarians, and the residents, students, and family members of these disciplines. WPHP monitors behavioral health, mood, anxiety disorders; substance use problems, cognitive and neurological conditions, problematic workplace behaviors, mental health or ANY health condition.
You can see the full report HERE.
California’s MBC Physician Health and Wellness Program
The steps to get a program for California were reported in the June issue of this newsletter. Proposed regulations that will govern the Medical Board of California’s new Physician Health and Wellness Program were distributed with the agenda materials for the May 20 meeting of the Medical Board of California. CLICK HERE for a copy. The proposed regulations will be discussed at the Board’s meeting on August 25-26, 2022. Watch for the agenda on the MBC website.
Once the proposed language is approved by the MBC, the Department of Consumer Affairs, and the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency, it will be submitted to the Office of Administrative Law to be published with a 45-day comment period.