Background: This article briefly summarizes not only the history of physician health programs, including their singular success, but also their struggle to maintain the ethical integrity of the programs, their appropriate autonomy, and the privacy of physicians enrolled in them.
Method: We review the history of the Maryland Physicians Health Program, how it initially developed and was funded, how the program became funded by the state, how this ultimately caused serious problems, and how these were eventually resolved.
Results: Maryland was able to achieve a 2-program solution that protected both the voluntary participants while meeting the needs of the state licensing board for participants mandated by the state licensing board. This result has been well received by both the physician community and the state licensing board.
Conclusions: How the problems were solved and the ultimate agreement provide a model for others to use.