As we began exploring in a previous post, medical professionals -- physicians, nurses, pharmacists, etc. -- struggling with underlying mental health issues or substance abuse problems can contact the Minnesota Health Professionals Services Program (HPSP) for much-needed assistance designed to not only help them professionally, but also protect the general public.
Specifically, we started discussing how the first step in the process is the medical professional actually initiating contact with the HPSP and speaking with a case manager.
To recap, during this informal and anonymous phone interview, the case manager will outline the process, including those circumstances in which a licensing board could be informed of the medical professional's enrollment in the program.
Completion of the telephone interview with the case manager does not mean automatic enrollment. Indeed, it will be necessary for the HPSP to determine whether a medical professional has a qualifying illness or condition.
In order to make this determination, the HPSP will need to review medical records and/or results from requested assessments, something the medical professional voluntarily assents to by completing various enrollment forms and authorization materials.
The Participation Agreement
In the event the HPSP ultimately decides that monitoring is warranted, the next step is for the medical professional to sign what is known as a Participation Agreement.
This binding document sets everything from the length and terms of monitoring (assessments, drug tests, treatments, etc. lasting anywhere from 12 to 60 months) to the circumstances in which substantial noncompliance would result in a notification being sent to a licensing board.
In light of everything that is at stake, any medical professional with mental health and/or chemical dependency issues who is debating self-reporting to the HPSP should strongly consider meeting with a skilled legal professional before taking any action. That's because they can explain how the process works, explore all viable options and, most significantly, carefully review the proposed terms of any participation agreement.