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.