Featured Articles, Podcasts, and Videos about PHPs


How to Overcome Early Career Physician Setbacks & Thrive in Recovery
by Courtney Barrows McKeown, MD
January 2024
A compelling story, that provides a first-hand account of the challenges of an early career physician, and how they were overcome.

The Whole Physician: Physicians with Substance Use Disorder: Help Is Available
November 2023
An article highlighting the PHP support that is available for physicians with substance use disorder, allowing them to return to health and their profession.

RIs Physician Health Program: Serving practitioners for more than four decades
November 2023
Rhode Island Medical Society's Physician Health Program (RIPHP) Director Kathleen Boyd, MSW, LICSW, and Herbert “Dr. Rak” Rakatansky, MD and the work they have done and continue to do for the RIPHP are featured in this article in the Rhode Island Medical Journal. 

Physician Burnout and Career Fatigue Part III
Burnout and Mental Health Stigma on Physician Licensing, Credentialing, and Privileging
September 2023
An article in the American Bar Assocation newsletter by Sun W. Vega, Daniel Blaney-Koen and Tyler Cowart

Out of the shadows: Physicians share their mental health struggles
March 28, 2023

One physician in this article shares that with the help of her department, she connected with the state physician health program, the organization that provides confidential assessments and resources for providers. Seeking help did not affect her medical license, and she returned to practice after the PHP cleared her.  Doctors face high rates of mental health challenges, but they often hide their stories due to shame and fear of professional fallout. Four physicians reveal their journeys in the hopes of reducing stigma and inspiring others to seek care.

Physician Health Programs: Changing the Culture of Medicine
Second quarter 2022

One of the easiest, most effective ways to support physicians with mental health issues, including addiction, is utilizing PHP services. PHPs are organizations that provide confidential support and advocacy for physicians and other healthcare professionals who suffer from potentially impairing health conditions including addiction, psychiatric illness, nonpsychiatric medical conditions, cognitive disorders, and workplace-related stress and burnout.


FSPHP Responds to Article on Treatment of Health Professionals with Opioid Use Disorder
October 4, 2022

The Federation of State Physician Health Programs, INC (FSPHP) President, Dr. Scott Hambleton, President-elect, Dr. Michael Baron, and former FSPHP President Dr. Chris Bundy respond to a recent article published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine on the treatment of health professionals with opioid use disorder (OUD).

The initial article, “Helping the Helpers — making access to buprenorphine a new standard of care for physicians in state monitoring programs,” was published in the July 2022 issue of the Journal. Its authors make the case that the Federation of State Medical Board’s (FSMB) recommendations concerning the use of buprenorphine for physicians in state-affiliated monitoring programs fall short of effectively permitting an evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorder.  Drs. Hambleton, Bundy, and Baron call attention to the article’s omission of relevant references including the FSPHP Position Statement, FSPHP Safety Considerations for Medication Treatment for Monitored Health Professional, and the  FSMB Policy on Physician Illness and Impairment – A Model to Optimize Patient Safety and Physician Health.

In summary, the response states that “Treatment of safety-sensitive workers with OUD is challenging, and neither a prohibition against the use of buprenorphine nor a mandate for its use is appropriate. Physician Health Programs must effectively manage the complex issues related to licensure and fitness for duty for safety-sensitive workers. Physician Health Programs save careers and lives. Addressing the education gap regarding PHP services can help to reduce stigma and incentivize early treatment and may serve as a model for helping all patients with addiction.

Read the original article in the Journal of Addiction Medicine.

Read the FSPHP Letter to the Editor.

Read the original author’s response to the FSPHP letter.

How Doctors with Addiction Heal and Return to Practice
August 12, 2022

Journalist, Andrea Goto, reached out to FSPHP several months ago with the most admirable goal to show physicians a way to recover by example, and to meaningfully and accurately describe PHPS, and FSPHP. This Medscape article includes a useful succinct overview of the issue and helps physicians understand the resources of PHPS, and a path toward a return to practice, with hyperlinks, and references.   

Dr. Molly Rossingnol, FSPHP Member, and Medical Director of the NH PHP contributes to this impactful article which nicely summarizes the value of PHPs and health professional recovery programs. The article addresses the specific challenges that face the health care workforce. 

The evidence is there that these programs work,” said Dr. Molly Rossignol, medical director of the N.H. Professionals Health Program, a monitoring and treatment referral nonprofit for health care professionals with a substance-use disorder. “It’s accountability, it takes a lot of work, it’s a huge commitment, but it certainly works.”

Much thanks to Michael McCormick and those who contributed “…McCormick said that by being with peers, health care workers in the program can be more vulnerable in group settings, which can help them recover.”

Physician Health Programs are Essential for Protecting Public Health
December 15, 2021
Charles Smith, DO, an addictionologist describes in this issue of Addiction Professional how PHPs are “accessible, affordable, and overwhelmingly successful. They’re discreet and easy to manage alongside the demands of a busy medical career.”

‘Why Do I Put My Life on the Line?’ Pandemic Trauma Haunts Health Workers
March 2021
PEW Trusts
Dr. Christopher Bundy, FSPHP President offers PHPs as a resource for those seeking help following the psychologic impact of burnout and exhaustion from the pandemic “Physician Health Programs, are an anonymous, trusted source that medical professionals in every state can call on if they want to talk or get a confidential referral."
He offers the hope that what will come next are changes in dialogue around physician’s vulnerability and wellness, increasing the need to seek help and for there to be changes in the environment so that its sustainable.  . 

Curbside Consultation: Caring for the Physician Affected by Substance Use Disorder
March 2021
Authored by FSPHP Member, Dr. Ruchi Fitzgerald with acknowledgment to Dr. Chris Bundy, FSPHP President for his review, this article is an impactful case scenario of a physician with substance use disorder seeking care and finding recovery with shared decision making involving the expertise of a Physician Health Program, and a family physician. She summarizes the barriers to care, along with the more devasting consequences of a physicians not seeking care and losing their license or other life dysfunction or worse, risk of suicide. Excellent and actionable “follow-up”  tips are provided as well, along with powerful references.  

Adaptations to Substance Use Disorder Monitoring by Physician Health Programs in Response to COVID-19*
February 2021

Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment
In this article authored by FSPHP Board Member, Dr. Alexis Polles (FL), FSPHP President, Dr. Chris Bundy (WPHP), FSPHP Associate Member, Dr. William Jacobs, and Chair of the FSPHP Research Committee, Dr. Lisa Merlo (FL), describe how PHPs work to adjust their services at a time of need, and how “The future of SUD monitoring for health professionals will almost certainly be characterized by greater flexibility, choice, and shared decision-making between the PHP and physician participant, so long as recovery support, accountability, and patient safety are not compromised.”  
*Full article download available until March 26, 2021.

Success Rates of Monitoring for Healthcare Professionals with a Substance Use Disorder: A Meta-Analysis 
January 2021
Journal of Clinical Medicine
FSPHP is grateful to the authors of this piece for their thorough evaluation of the evidence supporting the PHP model. This investigation highlights the limitations of prior studies demonstrating effectiveness of HCP monitoring programs and serves as an important guide for future research to update and improve upon the evidence-base.  FSPHP is pursuing such research and welcomes funding and collaborative partnerships with investigators interested in physician health.

FSPHP supports the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act (S. 4349)
September 11, 2020
Journal of Clinical Medicine
When this legislation is enacted, the FSPHP, along with our member Physician Health Programs (PHPS) across the US can be part of the solution to address the intensifying stress, burnout, mental health, substance misuse and suicide crisis among physicians exacerbated by COVID-19.  The legislation calls for access to grants for resources that will provide the education, research, and training addressing the well-being of the profession. 

Doctors’ Exemplary Treatment Success Occurs Absent High Use of Buprenorphine
by Gary Enos
Alcohol and Drug Abuse Weekly
May 11, 2020
“Physicians experience some of the most noteworthy recovery success rates among professional groups, largely because of the presence of physician health programs (PHPs) that offer a treatment-focused alternative to discipline while still protecting public safety.”

Personal Privacy Versus Public Safety: Addiction Among Health Professionals
by Paul H. Earley, MD, DFASAM
From The Carlat Addiction Treatment Report, March 2020, Substance Use in Health Professionals

In this same issue:  Learning From the Successes of Physician Health Programs
Physician health programs  are highly successful and are the gold standard for abstinence-based treatment. Lessons can be gleaned from their structure and applied to other models, including the importance of a contingency management framework and long-term monitoring.”

Physicians and Other Healthcare Professionals with Addiction
The American Society of Addiction Medicine Physician Health Policy Statement Released Feb 2020, Physicians and Other Health Professionals with Addiction.
February 6, 2020

Healthcare Professionals’ Mental Health Needs: Where Can They Go?
by Kay Miller Temple, MD
Article in The Rural Monitor.  This is the second in a two-part series on rural physician and provider behavioral health.
January 29, 2020

Professional Duties Require Physicians to Recognize and Address Physician Illness and Impairment, but It Is Often Difficult to Recognize a Colleague's Condition and Find an Appropriate Way of Reporting and Resolving It
by Mollie Frost
September 2019

Programs and Resources to Alleviate Concerns with Mental Health Disclosures on Physician Licensing Applications
bCatherine M. WelcherCarrie L. RadabaughAlejandro AparicioHumayun J. ChaudhryMark L. StazLynne M. Kirk, and Linda Bresnahan
July 2019

Beyond “Heal Thyself”: Physicians as Patients—An Uneasy Role
by Jeffrey H. Samet, MD, MA, MPH; Jane Liebschutz, MD, MPH
June 18, 2019

Physician Impairment and Rehabilitation: Reintegration Into Medical Practice While Ensuring Patient Safety: A Position Paper From the American College of Physicians 
by Philip J. Candilis, MD; Daniel T. Kim, MA, MPH; Lois Snyder Sulmasy, JD; for the ACP Ethics, Professionalism and Human Rights Committee
June 18, 2019

Physician Suicide 
by Joy Albuquerque MD MSc, Sarah Tulk MD MSc
May 6, 2019

Top Doctor Opioid Addict – Recovers and Returns to Medicine   
by Kayla Webley Adler
February 25, 2019

Interaction Between PHPs and Training Programs: Disruptive Behavior in Residents  
by Donald A. Misch, MD
June 30, 2018

Investing in Physicians' Well-Being is Just Good Business  
by Tanya Albert Henry
December 27, 2017

Physician Health Programs and the Social Contract  
by Philip J. Candilis, MD
January 2016

Ulliance Re-awarded the Health Professional Recovery Program RFP
November 7, 2017

2016 Performance Enhancement Review Guidelines
November 8, 2016 

Physician Health and Professional Secrecy
by Philip J. Candilis, MD, DFAPA
December 24, 2015

An Outsider Looks at PHP Care Management  
by Robert L. DuPont, MD
October 27, 201

Physician Health Programmes and Malpractice Claims: Reducing Risk through Monitoring
by Elizabeth Brooks, Michael H. Gendel, Doris C. Gundersen, Sarah R. Early, Richard Schirrmacher, Alan Lembitz and Jay H. Shore
April 22, 2013

Podcasts & Videos

Supporting Physician Recovery with PHPs
Drug Diversion Insights with Terri Vidals
May 14, 2024
Featuring Michael Baron, MD, MPH, DFASAM, FAPA, Medical Director, Tennessee Medical Foundation - Physician's Health Program; Chris Bundy, MD, MPH, Executive Medical Director, Washington Physicians Health Program; and Linda Bresnahan, Executive Director, FSPHP, this episode tackles the crucial issue of physician recovery and the role of Physician Health Programs (PHPs) in their journey back to safe practice.
Available on YouTube and Spotify:

Unprecedented:  A Candid Conversation about Physician Health Programs 
October 2023
American Conference on Physician Health; Palm Desert, California
Carrie Cunningham, MD, MPH, a surgeon, and Chris Bundy, MD, MPH, a psychiatrist and nationally recognized expert in physician health, shatter stigma and shame by publicly revealing their personal stories of loss and redemption so that others may find hope and healing.  Discover how physician health programs helped them, the unprecedented outcomes they achieve, the complex challenges that they face, and how you can partner with PHPs to save careers and lives.  

History of FSPHP and the Critical Role of PHPs
May 2023
This interview features a conversation with Linda Bresnahan, MS, Executive Director of the Federation of State Physician Health Programs- (FSPHP) and Gaurava Agarwal, MD, Chief Wellness Executive at Northwestern Medicine and Expert Consultant on the Frontline Connect Initiative. During their conversation, Linda speaks about the history of FSPHP and the critical role that state PHPs play in increasing access to voluntary mental health care for frontline clinicians, including serving as safe, confidential resources for the profession.  The discussion also focuses on key benefits and outcomes of PHPs, how PHPs and hospitals, health systems, and clinicians can work together, as well as their extensive process of outreach, education, and referral to evaluation and treatment, and monitoring of those providers who may be in recovery for a mental health or substance use disorder.  Linda highlights recent changes and enhancements as PHPs increase the services they offer to clinicians.

AAS Presidential Address—Removing the Mask
February 2023
2023 Association for Academic Surgery Presidential Session—How Can We Help? Dr. Bundy shares more understanding of the role of PHPs with Joe Shapiro, MD, DABAM; Michael Maddus MD; Colin West MD, PhD; Carrie Cunningham MD, MPH; and Sunil Geevarghese MD, MSCI, FACS. The entire session is available here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=42yoYwZqRu8.

Wearing Masks I (1995)
University of Maryland Medical System, Professional Assistance Committee
The objective of these programs is to help get those with substance use disorder into safe and confidential treatment. Each year sees the death of colleagues due to accidental overdose of powerful anesthesia-based drugs.

Wearing Masks II (10 years later, 2005)
University of Maryland Medical System, Professional Assistance Committee
Wearing Masks II: The Potential for Drug Addiction in Anesthesia, Revised with New Information, courtesy of All Anesthesia. This is a continuation in the overall program to educate about substance addiction in anesthesia. Wearing Masks I has been used for more than 10 years with anesthesia groups. The concentration now is in the workplace to help co-workers understand how substance addiction works, from the inside of an impaired practitioner’s mind and how to recognize the signs and patterns of addiction.

A Hard Pill to Swallow
Along with host Brian Fortenberry, Dr. Stephen Loyd discusses his intimate struggle with opioid addiction. For three years, Dr. Loyd was addicted to painkillers while working as a physician. In one hand, he had everything anyone would want in life. In the other, a handful of pills. He discusses how finding the Tennessee Medical Foundation helped get him out of addiction.

Confessions of a Recovering Addict
In this powerful episode, Dr. Bob shares his personal story with Brian. Dr. Bob has struggled with alcohol and drug addictions since his early youth all the way through medical school and well into his practice.

Physician Suicide  
A CMAJ Podcast