This program provides support to, and monitoring of, physicians whose ability to practise may be affected by a health issue. The College, together with the Alberta Medical Association’s Physician and Family Support Program (PFSP), help physicians access assessment and treatment programs as needed.
Guided by policies and procedures developed by the Physician Health Monitoring Committee*, the management of physician health issues occurs outside the College’s disciplinary process and loss of practice permit is extremely rare. Most physicians in the Physician Health Monitoring Program can and do return to work with appropriate supports in place.
Under the Health Professions Act, College Council is required to approve rules for physician participation in the PHMP. Following circulation of the proposed rules to the profession, Council approved the Rules for Member Participation in December 2011.
Key Program Components
- The College encourages early notification of health conditions that may affect a physician’s ability to practise. Once notified, the College makes every effort to keep physicians health information in a confidential manner and access is restricted to the Physician Wellness portfolio.
- Note: Notification can come from the affected physician or the physician’s co-workers, colleagues or family members.
Physicians with health issues are encouraged to participate in an individualized assessment to ensure:
- the care they are receiving is appropriate or
- a customized treatment program can be developed, if necessary.
- At times, physicians may be required to enter into a Continuing Care agreement with the College to ensure they attend to their health and are free of impairment.
- In the case of alcohol or drug dependence or abuse, this agreement may include individual and group meetings, random body-fluid screening, workplace modifications and updates from treating professionals.
- Note: a five-year commitment to the program is typical.
*The Physician Health Monitoring Committee is comprised of physicians with expertise in managing physician health concerns. Appointed by College Council, as least one member of the committee must have expertise in addiction medicine.
Dr. Janet L. Wright, Assistant Registrar
780-969-4940 or 1-800-561-3899 ext. 4940 (in Alberta)