Healthcare Professionals' Foundation of Louisiana

History   

In 1981, the Louisiana State Medical Society (LSMS) Committee on Physician Aid created a Subcommittee on Impaired Physicians.  Two years later, the Component Medical Societies were asked to form their own Impaired Physician Committees and work in liaise with this Subcommittee.  In 1984, it was suggested that the Subcommittee be elevated to full committee status.  That year the LSMS House of Delegates (HOD) granted this request, and there was a drastic change in the internal structure of these committees.  This new entity became known as the Impaired Physicians Committee, whose greatest charge was to develop and create an Impaired Physicians Program, including program guidelines and developing a relationship with the state licensing authority. 

As a result of this, in 1984 the LSMS House of Delegates passed a resolution mandating that the LSMS, "...seek official designation from the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners (LSBME) for the Subcommittee on Impaired Physicians... to act on behalf of the Board in matters of impaired physicians."  It was hoped that this designation would afford protection to participating physicians from liability under Section 1287 (A & B) of the Medical Practice Act of 1979.  The Memorandum of Understanding by and between the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners and the Louisiana State Medical Society grew out of this resolution.

The Impaired Physicians Program operated this way until 1998, at which time it became centralized in the LSMS in Baton Rouge, LA.  The program became a nonprofit 501c3 and the name changed to the Physicians' Health Foundation of Louisiana, Physicians Health Program.  The Physicians' Health Foundation of Louisiana continues to operate under a Memorandum of Understanding with the LSBME. 

In August of 2012, legislation was passed that allowed for physician assistants, medical psychologists, and podiatrists to have access to the PHFL PHP's services. 

 

Mission Statement of the HPFL

Providing assistance with the identification, treatment, and monitoring of dietitian/nutritionists, physicians, physician assistants, podiatrists, medical psychologists, dentists, and dental hygienists who suffer from a physical or mental condition, in order to promote patient safety and to ensure the continued availability of skilled professionals.

 

Confidentiality

The Healthcare Professionals' Foundation of Louisiana highly values the confidentiality of both participants and those making reports or referrals.  It is our policy to neither confirm nor deny any individual’s involvement in the program without prior written consent.  In addition, we maintain the confidentiality of those making reports concerning the actual or potential impairment of a healthcare professional.

Of noteworthy importance, the assistance offered by the HPFL PHP is confidential.  For example, any dietitian/nutritionist, physician, physician assistant, podiatrist, medical psychologist, dentist, or dental hygienist (healthcare professional) who is experiencing a problem with substance use for which they have not been adequately treated or monitored, can access the HPFL PHP without any obligation on the part of the HPFL PHP to notify the Louisiana Board of Examiners in Dietetics and Nutrition (LBEDN),  Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners (LSBME) or the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry (LSBD). In fact, a licensed professional enrolled in the HPFL PHP for the first time can answer “No” on their license renewal to certain relevant questions.  There are some circumstances which the HPFL PHP is mandated to report to the LBEDN, LSBME or LSBD. The HPFL PHP is obligated to inform when it receives information indicating a professional has diverted prescription drugs for trade or sale, information of a professional acting inappropriately with a patient (boundary violation), a return to substance use once in the program, or noncompliance. However, in all cases, the LBEDN, LSBME, LSBD, and the HPFL PHP mutually support early detection and treatment of professionals.

If you or someone you know needs help, please contact us at 888-743-5747 for assistance. Early intervention could save someone's life.

 

How to Make a Referral      

The Healthcare Professionals' Foundation of Louisiana, Professionals' Health Program (HPFL PHP) accepts referrals on a confidential basis. If you suspect possible impairment of a dietitian/nutritionist, physician, physician assistant, dentist, dental hygienist, podiatrist, or medical psychologist (professional) or have concerns for their safety or the safety of their patients, please contact us. The HPFL PHP protects the identity of any person who makes a referral on behalf of a professional.  We receive referrals from multiple sources including hospitals, colleagues, the Louisiana Board of Examiners in Dietetics and Nutrition (LBEDN), Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners (LSBME), Louisiana State Board of Dentistry (LSBD), office staff, treatment centers, and family or friends.

In addition, we encourage self referrals.  If you are in need of assistance please do not hesitate to call.  Any professional who has not been treated or monitored previously can be a participant in the HPFL PHP confidentially.

Concerns for which referrals are received include, but are not limited to the following:

Being under the influence of mood altering substances while in the workplace.

Excessive use of mood altering substances outside the workplace that may affect a professional's ability to practice with skill and safety.

Mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety or other psychiatric illnesses.

Workplace disruptive behaviors such as verbal or physical abuse towards staff or patients. 

Boundary violations or sexual inappropriateness with patients. 

Referrals are accepted by phone: (888) 743-5747 or in writing.  Those made in writing request the name of the individual making the report and their contact information.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an impaired professional?

A professional unable to practice medicine with reasonable skill and safety to patients.  Impairment could be due to a mental illness, substance abuse, or a physical condition.

 

Is my participation in the HPFL confidential?

If you have never been treated or monitored, you may be considered a “First Timer”. This means that the LBEDN/LSBME/LSBD has no knowledge that you are a participant in the HPFL.

 

Can I be a participant in the program if I am not currently licensed?

Yes.  We recommend that you participate in monitoring if you are planning to request re-licensure and are in recovery. The HPFL  assists dietitian/nutritionists, physicians, physician assistants, dentists, dental hygienists, podiatrists, and medical psychologists (professionals) by having documentation from random urine screens, treating providers, meeting attendance, etc., which may be helpful in demonstrating your positive progress.

 

What is one of the most beneficial roles of the HPFL? 

Perhaps one of the most beneficial roles of the HPFL is advocacy. We will advocate on the professional's behalf with employers, insurance carriers, other state physician health programs, the Louisiana Board of Examiners in Dietetics and Nutrition, Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners, the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry, and many more entities. If you are in the program and would like  for us to contact anyone on your behalf, please fill out a Consent and Authorization to Release Information form and forward it to the HPFL by email or fax. We are happy to assist you with this.

 

Contact Information

Healthcare Professionals’ Foundation of Louisiana
4303 Bluebonnet Blvd.
Baton Rouge, LA 70809

225.291.5000 | Direct
888.743.5747 | Toll Free
225.291.5400 | Fax

 

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