Occasionally, medical professionals receive what’s called a voluntary license inactive document. This a form sent out by the Professional Health Monitoring Program (PHMP) when the program claims you are suspected of substance addiction.

The document has “voluntary” in its name for a reason. You are not required to sign it. So what is this document and what do you need to know about it?

Do not feel pressured into signing

Unfortunately, the PHMP often deceives professionals. It may send you a letter of concern stating that the program has information about possible substance abuse or other factors that make you unfit to practice. Receiving this letter and an inactive document may make you feel pressure to sign.

Despite this pressure, if you admit to any sort of impairment, your license could be inactivated or suspended for months. A lot of professionals who are not impaired still sign the document because they are scared of what will happen if they don’t.

The PHMP cannot legally do anything against you if you do not sign, but it will certainly restrict you from practicing if you do sign.

How can you avoid losing your license?

As stated above, your consent to inactivation is voluntary. You may want to consider withdrawing from the PHMP if you are involved in it. You can still keep your license if you have not yet consented to enrollment in a VRP.

If you ever receive a contract or a request to complete the voluntary license inactive document, remember: you could be signing away your license and livelihood for months. Whether you believe they can prove impairment on your part or not, consenting guarantees inactivation.

You always have legal options to defend yourself, which is why it’s important not to jump the gun and sign anything without understanding the consequences.