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Kratom Use Among Health Professionals

Learn about kratom being prohibited by the DEA and then reversing its decision and why. Should we include kratom in health professional testing? February 23, 2020 Actual Case A 37-year-old anesthesiologist participating in residential treatment for opioid use disorder went on a therapeutic leave home to another during the third month of his treatment. UponRead More

Specificity of Blood Phosphatidylethanol (PEth) as a Marker for Alcoholic Beverage Consumption

Utilizing blood phosphatidylethanol (PEth) in abstinence monitoring programs (particularly with health professional, airline pilot, and/or other professional monitoring) as a means to detect relapse to alcoholic beverage use is a relatively new development over the past decade. PEth is a minor metabolite of ethanol formed when an enzyme, phospholipase D (PLD), binds ethanol to phosphatidylcholineRead More

Early Intervention

Physician health programs (PHPs) provide state disciplinary authorities (medical boards) what wellbeing committees (WCs) provide for hospital disciplinary authorities (medical executive committees). The former regarding licensure and the latter hospital privileges, both necessary for most physicians to practice. In the few states, like California, with no PHP, wellbeing committees take on added responsibilities. In statesRead More

A Pathway to Success in Challenging Times

“Safeguarding the public by improving physician and other professionals’ health and wellbeing.” A pathway to success in challenging times. With so much uncertainty and stress in the world today—a pandemic, protests, massive wildfires, and a contentious presidential election—one thing remains constant: Dr. Gregory Skipper and the Center for Professional Recovery (CPR) are here for you.Read More

Relapse among Physicians with Substance Use Disorders

Studies have reported that the relapse rate of physicians with substance use disorders over a 5-year period following commencement of a monitoring agreement with a Physician Health Program (PHP) is about 20%.  This is an impressive but overly simplistic statistic. What is relapse? Are there different severities of relapse? Should relapse be considered a failureRead More

Top 8 Mistakes Made by Well-Being Committees and Physician Health Programs

In 2001 the Joint Commission, with input from the Federation of State Physician Health Programs (PHPs), developed standards that require hospitals to have functions similar to what the state PHPs provide for state licensing bodies. These functions include: Education (about problems that can cause impairment, primarily substance use disorders), Early Intervention, Referral for Evaluation andRead More

“Failing Up” – and the ASAM Criteria

It has become common in the treatment of substance use disorders to accept the idea of treating an individual at a lower (and less expensive) level of care with the plan that if they fail (i.e. relapse) that then, and only then, is a higher level of care warranted. This concept of “failing up” isRead More

Phone Intervention: Every Word Matters

During this time of social distancing, it seems appropriate to discuss remote (telephone) intervention. In 2011, we at the Alabama Physician Health Program, where I was then medical director, examined intervention outcomes over the previous 10 years. We found that of the 328 interventions that had been conducted, almost half, 161, were telephone interventions. InRead More

A Crisis of Physician Health in California

California was one of the first states to develop a program for early detection and treatment of physicians with substance abuse problems, but the program was closed in 2007. Now, California is one of the only states lacking such a program. The result has been catastrophic for many physicians and their patients. Substance use disordersRead More

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