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The PHP: a forum for physicians dealing with personal demons

On Behalf of | Nov 5, 2015 | Medical Licensing

We all have our personal demons. Even people who seem to have it all together on the outside may be dealing with terribly distressing personal issues.

For doctors, working in such a high-pressure field, the experience of deep distress can include addiction and mental health issues. Such issues can not only throw your personal life into chaos. They can put your professional license at risk as well.

In this post, we will discuss two tangible steps you can take to protect yourself from the full force of the potential professional consequences of your personal issues.

One step is to contact lawyer who is knowledgeable about the license defense process. Another is to explore the Physicians Health Program (PHP) that is available for Pennsylvania doctors. The PHP offers support, advocacy and treatment resources for physicians grappling with chemically dependency, mental health issues and other serious concerns.

Both of these steps are important. But to protect both yourself and your license to practice medicine, it makes sense to reach out to a lawyer first. We therefore encourage you to talk with an experienced lawyer before you get in touch with the PHP.

The reason for prioritizing the calls in this way isn’t because lawyers have all the answers. It is because you want to make sure your possible participation in the PHP has maximum benefit in terms of keeping your license to practice your profession. When you enter the PHP, it means the issues that brought you there will be disclosed to your employer. And you don’t want to do that without a careful plan for doing so.

The PHP is known for its rigor and multi-year commitment. You will not only have to undergo an evaluation and enter appropriate treatment. You will have to be prepared to commit to a five-year contract, which may include components such as required 12-step meetings or random urine samples.

Participating in the PHP is therefore something to think through closely, in collaboration with a trusted attorney who can guide you through the process.