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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Determining Whether the Results of a Drug Test Will Be Useful (or Not)
The new document, Drug Testing of Health Care Professionals: What to Test For, When, Why and How, covers the policies and procedures that will determine whether the results of a drug test will be useful for the medical staff/medical group that requested it.
Given the different kinds of tests that can be ordered, medical staffs should identify what combination of testing technologies will give the most accurate results in the most economical fashion.
Given the number of legal issues involved, medical staffs should be aware of the potential risks, liabilities, and immunities associated with the implementation of a testing policy.
These questions will be the basis for the CPPPH/CSAM videoconference on December 13 with Greg Skipper, MD and Tom Curtis, Esq.
Click HERE for details of the videoconference and the link to register. Registration is $145 with a reduced fee for one or two others from the same institution registering at the same time.
Stigma is a Key Issue
The National Academy of Medicine’s National Plan for Health Workforce Well-Being cites negative perceptions and discrimination associated with seeking help for emotional and mental health and substance use as being “entrenched in the health professions’ culture and training.” Moreover, the report says, similar negative associations are seen in the responses of health systems, licensing bodies, and other governing forces.
The plan suggests increasing awareness of mental health issues through routine events such as rounds or meetings as possible ways to reduce stigma.
The report cites as a stigma-related problem the inclusion of intrusive questions about receiving mental health care on licensing and credentialing applications and urges the removal of such questions. Many hospitals and health systems have the same intrusive mental health questions on their credentialing applications, addendums, and peer review forms.
There is a 14-page “toolkit” titled Remove Intrusive Mental Health Questions from Licensure and Credentialing Applications from the Lorna Breen Foundation, with wording to look for as you audit applications and specific wording to substitute. For a copy, click HERE.
Reference: Stephenson J. National Academy of Medicine Outlines Plan to Curb Burnout, Bolster Health Workforce Well-Being. JAMA Health Forum. 2022;3(10):e224549. doi:10.1001/jamahealthforum.2022.4549. For a copy of the JAMA article, click HERE.
Recording of CSAM Workshop
A 3-hour workshop offered at California Society of Addiction Medicine’s 2022 meeting in August was titled Evaluations of Health Professionals: What Addiction Medicine Specialists Should Know. Recordings of that program are now available from CSAM’s Education Center HERE.
When you click on “Register/Take Course”, you are asked to Login or “Create New Account” at the CSAM Education Center.
The cost for the recording is $225, or $125 if you are a CSAM member.
California’s Physician Health and Wellness Program — Status in November 2022
Proposed regulations that will govern this new Medical Board of California program are still pending. The MBC staff is preparing the documents that must accompany the proposed regulations when they are submitted to the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), and its parent agency, Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency (BCSHA).
Once approved by both those agencies, the proposed regulations (click HERE for a copy) will be submitted to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) to be published with a 45-day comment period. The 45-day comment period will be announced by OAL in a notice that they send out and will also be posted on the Board’s website. Those who subscribe to get emails from the Board with alerts relating to regulations will get an alert sent to their email. Those who wish to subscribe to Board alerts may do so HERE.
Who will run the program? A vendor.
Once the proposed rulemaking becomes law, MBC will put out a request for proposal for a vendor — the entity contracted with the MBC to administer the program. The vendor may engage contractors to staff the program and to provide the services of the program, and those contractors must meet the requirements specified in Section 1357.10 (i), (j), and (k) of the proposed regulations.
The MBC staff reports that there is no estimated time or target date for when the RFP might be issued.
How much will it cost each participant?
After the vendor is chosen and a contract between the vendor and the MBC is in place, the MBC staff will draft regulations to set the fees for participants.
Actions Against Physician Licenses Related to Substance Use and Psychological or Physical Impairment
In this JAMA Health Forum June 3, 2022 article, the authors evaluate all actions against physician licenses between 2004 and 2020 reported in the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB). A table compares the age of the physician, the type and length of the adverse action against the license, geographic region of the US, and other elements.
The authors note that “… physician license actions represent only the most severe cases of impairment. Nevertheless, these findings suggest continued areas to improve mental health and support offerings for physicians, particularly interventions that may preclude the need for license actions in the first place.” For a copy of the article, click HERE.