Monday, March 9, 2009
Friday, August 1, 2008
The Texas Medical Association and the Texas Osteopathic Medical Association, working in conjunction with the Texas Medical Board, are exploring the possibility of creating a statewide diversion program for Texas Physicians and Physician Assistants. An Ad Hoc Committee, consisting of three (3) representatives from the Texas Medical Association (TMA), three (3) representatives from the Texas Osteopathic Medical Association (TOMA), and three (3) representatives from the Texas Medical Board (TMB), have begun meetings to discuss, and to develop, a proposed program.
The program, if implemented, will be become the Texas Physician Health Program (TXPHP), and would operate very similar to the current program available for Nurses through the Texas Peer Assistant Program for Nurses (TPAPN), and the program available to Pharmacists through the Professional Recovery Network (PRN). At least three (3) other states, Mississippi, Iowa and Tennessee, currently offer similar diversion programs for doctors.
Under this proposed program, Physicians and Physician Assistants could be referred for monitoring and rehabilitation, for either chemical or mental impairment. In many respects, the program would be very similar to the existing programs available to Texas Physicians through their existing County Medical Societies. However, this proposed program should be able to offer a more standardized, and effective advocacy for Texas Physicians and Physician Assistants. In addition, under this proposed program, Physicians and Physician Assistants in rural practice settings, where there is no active physician health program, would now have an effective program available to them. Although participation in the program would be voluntary, that participation would also be confidential, just as it is currently treated under the various county medical societies.
Participation in the program would be offered to Physicians and Physician Assistants who request advocacy on their own initiative. In addition, Physicians and Physician Assistants may be referred to the program for monitoring and advocacy via concerned colleagues, hospitals, treatment professionals, treatment centers, family members and/or friends.
The most unique and attractive aspect of this proposed program is that for the first time, Physicians and Physician Assistants may also be referred to the TXPHP program by the Texas Medical Board or the Texas Physician Assistant Board. In those instances where the professionals are referred to the program by their licensing boards, no disciplinary action will be entered against the individual, public or private, as long as the professional adheres to the program objectives, and qualifies for continued advocacy. In addition, all monitoring for the chemical or mental impairment would be conducted by the TXPHP program, rather than the Texas Medical Board or the Texas Physician Assistant Board. Finally, for Physicians and Physician Assistants who are in the TXPHP, no investigations related to their chemical or mental impairment would be initiated, or maintained, by the respective licensing board, as long as the professional is in the TXPHP program, and meeting the established requirements for continued advocacy.
This program offers a new, and invaluable alternative to Physicians and Physician Assistants who suffer from chemical or mental impairment. Under this program, Physicians and Physician Assistants would have a unique opportunity to come forward, and to obtain assistance for their individual disabilities, without the stigma of a public disciplinary order by their licensing board.
Monday, June 23, 2008
A blog over at Information for Nurses also gives some helpful advice when seeking an attorney to represent you. I agree with the advice on that blog: Do Not Represent Yourself. I have seen doctors agree to restrictions that were not appropriate for the charges against them.