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. As of 2021, the HPFL is contracted with the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry and the Louisiana State Board of Veterinary Medicine to provide services to all of their licensees.
As you know, physicians, physician assistants, podiatrists, medical psychologists, dentists, and dental hygienists (healthcare professionals) often find themselves caring for others continuously. However, these health care professionals also need assistance at times, and we want you to know that it is ok to ask for help.
It is the primary role of the Healthcare Professionals’ Foundation of Louisiana (HPFL) Professionals’ Health Program (PHP) to offer assistance to health care professionals who may be suffering from difficulties such as substance use issues, depression, anxiety, etc., in addition to a host of physical ailments and disruptive behavior patterns. The HPFL PHP supports healthcare professionals who are in our program and advocates for them with hospitals, health plan networks, malpractice insurance carriers, licensure boards, etc.
Of noteworthy importance, the assistance offered by the HPFL PHP is confidential. For example, any physician, physicians 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 State Board of Medical Examiners (LSBME) or the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry (LSBD). In fact, a physician enrolled in the HPFL PHP for the first time can answer “No” on their license renewal to questions #1 and #2. There are some circumstances which the HPFL PHP is mandated to report to the 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 LSBME, LSBD, and the HPFL PHP mutually support early detection and treatment of professionals.
If you or someone you know could use the assistance of the HPFL PHP, please do not hesitate to contact us at (888) 743-5747.
Make a Donation
The HPFL is a nonprofit 501c3 organization. Your donation will help professionals in need of assistance. You can make a donation by mail to:
Healthcare Professionals’ Foundation of Louisiana
4303 Bluebonnet Blvd.
Baton Rouge, LA 70809