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Physician Health Programs: The Maryland Experience

Platman, Stanley MD; Allen, Thomas E. MD; Bailey, Susan MD; Kwak, Chae LCSW-C; Johnson, Stephen JD

doi: 10.1097/01.ADM.0000434988.43332.dc
Original Research

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.

From the Physicians Health Program (SP), Center for a Healthy Maryland Board Oversight Committee for the Impaired Physician Programs (TEA), Physicians Rehabilitation Program (SB), Impaired Physician Programs (CK), Center for a Healthy Maryland (SJ), Baltimore, MD.

Send correspondence and reprint requests to Stanley Platman, MD, Maryland Physician Health Program, Center for a Healthy Maryland, 1202 Maryland Ave, Baltimore, MD 21201. E-mail:

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Received March 30, 2013

Accepted August 29, 2013

© 2013 American Society of Addiction Medicine