History and Philosophy
“It is a physician’s [and other healthcare professionals] ethical responsibility to take cognizance of a colleague’s inability to practice medicine by reason of physical or mental illness; including alcoholism or drug dependence…Accountability to the public through assurance of competent care to patients by physicians and other health professionals is a paramount responsibility of organized medicine.” – AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, 1973
The Maryland HealthCare Professionals Program was established to assist all healthcare professionals with health and wellbeing and help them to continue or return to practice.
Accessing the ProgramWho May Use the Program?
Allied health professionals and other practitioners licensed by their respective licensing boards whose profession does not benefit from the existing assistance program can voluntarily contact the program by calling 410-962-5580 or 800-992-7010. Concerned colleagues or family members may also contact the program at the number above; the confidentiality of the referring individual will be honored upon request. Other referral sources include co-workers, hospital administrators, credentialing committees, therapists, and other treatment providers. The services of the Maryland HealthCare Professionals Program are available to practitioners licensed by their respective licensing boards, regardless of their affiliation with the Maryland State Medical Society.
Types of Concerns
The types of concerns encountered by MHPP include:
- Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
- Chemical dependency
- Mental or emotional health
- Physical and cognitive impairment
- Behavioral issues
- Legal issues
- Sexual misconduct/boundary
When self-referred, the Program meets HIPAA compliance standards. Federal and state laws ensure the confidentiality of practitioners referred to the Program. Program records are non-discoverable and confidential to the extent covered by law. Exceptions to confidentiality include evidence of imminent harm to self or others through good-faith assessment by program staff, medical emergencies, court-ordered disclosures, and the State of Maryland mandated reporting requirements regarding child abuse and neglect.
Initial Consultation, Assessment and Referral
When a referral is made to the MHPP, the participant is invited for an initial consultation with program staff, including the Clinical Manager. This meeting provides an opportunity for open and honest communication regarding the presenting problem in order to review the situation and begin the evaluation process. If appropriate, the participant will be referred for an independent evaluation. If the evaluator identifies a need for treatment, the participant will be referred for treatment and enrolled in the program.
A participant with a verified problem typically enters into a contract with the MHPP that allows for active monitoring of the participant’s progress. The contract encompasses the participant’s treatment plan, incorporating recommendations made by the evaluator. The case manager will monitor the participants’ progress with treatment, vocational status, and if appropriate, the participant will undergo random toxicology screening.
Support and Advocacy
The scope of client advocacy involves providing reports to involved parties on behalf of the participant regarding their status with the program and their compliance, and progress with their treatment plan. Advocacy reports are sent with the permission and at the request of a participant to organizations such as their licensing board, malpractice carriers, specialty boards, hospital or credentialing committees, and various legal entities.
When a participant successfully completes the requirements established in the contract and is in stabilized recovery, the MHPP Medical Director will review the case and the work of the MHPP is concluded. Participants may choose to sign additional contracts for as long as support and monitoring are desired or needed.
Arthur Hildredth, M.D.
Medical Director, Physician Health Program