The Law Offices of Brian E. Quinn

What is the Voluntary Recovery Program?

Chemical dependency can have vast impacts on a healthcare professional. It can affect all aspects of one's life and endanger a person's entire career. One thing a healthcare professional who is struggling with such problems may wonder is what possible sources of help are out there.

Today, we will be discussing one of the programs that Pennsylvania healthcare professionals with chemical dependency struggles sometimes participate in: the Voluntary Recovery Program.

The VRP is administered by the Division of Professional Health Monitoring Programs. The program, in part, is aimed at steering professionals who are struggling with problems like chemical dependency toward treatment appropriate for their situation. It also generally involves professional monitoring of a professional while he or she is going through the treatment process.

Entering into a consent agreement is one of the requirements for participation in the program. Consent agreements related to VRP eligibility are three years or greater in length. Such an agreement contains a list of terms that the professional is required to follow as part of his or her participation in the program.

Some of the advantages of participation in the VRP are:

  • That it can help a professional get the treatment one needs.
  • That it can help a professional hang onto his or her license while going through the treatment process. Generally, in the VRP, as long as a person follows the terms of the consent agreement reached, disciplinary actions related to the issue he or she is receiving treatment for will be deferred.
  • That it is a confidential process if an individual complies with all the terms and conditions of the program.

However, there are also some potential downsides. The terms that a consent order that is part of participation in the program can contain can be pretty extensive and can affect a professional's everyday life in many different ways. Also, if a medical professional opts to participate in the program and then violates the consent order entered into, he or she can face serious consequences.

Thus, as is the case with any decision that could potentially have professional license implications, there are many important factors to think about when deciding whether or not to pursue participation in the VRP. Healthcare professionals who have questions regarding the VRP, whether they should consider enrolling in it, whether they would be eligible for such enrollment or what the enrollment process is, should consider taking such questions to a license defense attorney.

Source: Pennsylvania Department of State, "Voluntary Recovery Program (VRP) - General Information," Accessed July 15, 2014

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