The Joint Commission requires the medical staff to implement a process to identify and manage matters of individual health for licensed independent practitioners. This identification process is separate from actions taken for disciplinary purposes. The rationale is that the medical staff and hospital leaders have an obligation to protect patients, its members and other persons present in the hospital from harm. Therefore, a process must be in place that provides education about physician health, addresses prevention of physical, psychiatric, or emotional illness, and facilitates confidential diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of practitioners who suffer from a potentially impairing condition. The purpose of the process is to help with the rehabilitation, rather than discipline, to aid a practitioner in retaining and regaining optimal professional functioning that is consistent with protection of patients.
The Wise Health System Physician Health & Wellness Committee consists of three physicians, Haroon Siddique, MD, Anissa August, MD and Renee Smith, MD. Matters referred to this committee are treated with the utmost confidence. As advocates, the committee helps with intervention, referral for evaluation and treatment, if necessary, monitoring upon return from treatment, and education for physicians and support staff regarding possible impairments. If an individual has a reasonable suspicion that a practitioner’s judgment is impaired, they should contact one of the physicians on the Wise Health & Wellness Committee.
Reasons for Referral can include:
- Disruptive behavior
- Chemical dependence
- Psychiatric disorders
- Boundary violations/sexual misconduct
- Stress and burnout
- Cognitive or physical impairment
The Texas Medical Association Physician Health and Wellness Committee provides resources to encourage health and wellness. The website is located at www.texmed.org/phw. Wise Health Clinics Center for Emotional Wellness is another resource that offers highly confidential and individualized one-on-one counseling services. The number is 940-539-0683.