Professional Health Monitoring Program (PHMP)
If you have been arrested for a DUI or any criminal offense or if a complaint was filed against you alleging that you have a drug or alcohol problem or mental health condition, you will receive a letter from the Professional Health Monitoring Program (PHMP) requesting that you participate in the Voluntary Recovery Program (VRP). The letter will instruct you to contact the Pennsylvania Nurse Peer Assistance Program (PNAP), if you are a nurse, or the Physicians Health Program (PHP), if you are a doctor. If you are a healthcare worker, other than a nurse or doctor, your case will be handled by the PHMP directly.
The letter will ask if you wish to cooperate and agree to undergo an evaluation for the purposes of determining if you have a drug or alcohol problem.
The letter will often indicate that you must agree not to accept or continue employment in any position requiring licensure until cleared to do so by the VRP case manager. What this means is that you can no longer go to work and must advise your employer that you cannot return to work until you have been evaluated by a drug and alcohol provider and permitted to return to work by the VRP.
If you receive this letter, you should immediately contact our office. We have been extremely successful in keeping healthcare workers out of this program so that you can continue working without jeopardizing your license.
The PHMP includes two programs, both of which are described below.
Voluntary Recovery Program (VRP)
The VRP offers a confidential treatment and monitoring program for professionals suffering from drug and alcohol or mental health issues.
To be eligible for VRP enrollment, a licensee must enter into a consent agreement with the licensing board for at least three years. This agreement will stipulate that disciplinary action will be deferred while the licensee adheres to the terms and conditions of the treatment program.
If the licensee fails to adhere to the terms of the consent agreement, the licensee may be subject to an automatic three-year minimum suspension of his or her license. If a licensee successfully fulfills the terms of the consent agreement, no disclosure of public record is made of his or her participation in the VRP.
Disciplinary Monitoring Unit (DMU)
After the licensing board has placed a licensee on probation, the DMU monitors that probation to ensure that the licensee complies with all terms imposed by the licensing board. All of the BPOA licensing boards may refer licensees to the DMU for monitoring.
Nursing is a stressful profession, and substance abuse among nursing staff is, unfortunately, all too common. And yet, nurses are often reluctant to seek help. To learn more about the issues facing nurses who are struggling with substance abuse, read this article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, for which attorney Brian Quinn was a contributor.
Remember, if you receive this letter from the PHMP, contact my office immediately. Do not speak with anyone from the PHMP or any investigator without consulting with me.
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Our lawyers have extensive experience helping Pennsylvania professionals protect their careers and prospects through professional health monitoring programs. To contact our law firm, fill out our online form or call 866-657-7318.