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DATE: 9/29/2005
Medical Board Moves Forward with Physician Health Program

Scottsdale, Ariz. - At is annual planning meeting on September 23, 2005, the Arizona Medical Board approved the framework presented by Board staff to implement the Physician Health Program (PHP). The PHP evaluates, treats and monitors physicians and physician assistants with medical, psychiatric, psychological, behavioral health disorders, and substance abuse that impacts a licensee‘s ability to safely practice medicine or perform healthcare tasks.

The PHP is the umbrella program including the Monitored Aftercare Program (MAP) that currently monitors licensees with substance abuse and chemical dependency problems. The PHP helps address their health issues and safe return to medical practice by ensuring that appropriate education, intervention, therapeutic treatment and post-treatment monitoring and support are obtained.

The Board hopes that the confidential nature of the program encourages physicians with these disorders to seek assistance voluntarily, rather than continuing to practice and potentially endangering the public.

This program fulfills the Board‘s responsibility to rehabilitate physicians and protect the public. If the physician does not voluntarily disclose a disorder, does not sufficiently self-limit or returns to practice before he or she is able, the Board may issue a non-disciplinary public order limiting the physician‘s practice. In all cases the Board must ensure that the public‘s safety is preserved.