The Holidays, Letters of Concern, and Permission to Work - Your Identity

For many doctors, pharmacists, and nursing, medicine is a major aspect of their personality and identity. Compassion in care giving is a significant character trait of medical professionals. During this holiday season, working, attending work related holiday events, and gift giving are enjoyable aspects of medical professionals' lives.

Work-related holiday events allow for brief periods of social interaction between people who spend a significant part of their lives together in a high stress work environment. However, many health professionals will be charged with driving after imbibing this holiday season.

Most of the holiday based calls I received focus on the many different ways the Professional Health Monitoring Program reaches out and scares the health care professional after a holiday seasons DUI. A PHMP/PHP representative first sends the letter of concern claiming allegations of drug or alcohol excessive use are excessive and impairing the professional's ability to practice. Things change after this letter.

Consistent long-term employment allows for financial security, long-term planning, and enjoying life. Health care professionals relate to me consistent reasons for entering the field. Reasons range from significant juvenile medical issues to providing long-term care for sick family members. Medical related board correspondence alleging drug or alcohol impairments and license suspensions create significant stress and anxiety.It places all of the hard work at risk.

I am daily presented with examples of heavy-handed scare tactics by the PHMP and PHM case workers. Threats of Board interaction and loss of license scare medical professionals to unnecessarily cooperate with the voluntary recovery program (VRP). These threats are empty.

However, the threats create enormous anxiety, prompting an identity crisis in many of my clients and potential clients. This identity crisis scares licensees to do anything the Letter of Concern states to avoid a further identity/license crisis. PHMP case workers prey on this fear. They are not honest or candid in the complications created by enrolling and cooperating.

This week I received a call from medical professional who began cooperating with the PHMP. The person did not have a DUI arrest, a diversion investigation, or allegations of showing up to work drunk. Rather, her doctor told her to report herself. Immediately, the PHMP case worker did not allow the client to work.

This created both the identity and financial crisis. Which is worse: financial ruin and a care giver's future role in question. I have written about this many times. PHMP's initial commands to stop working, delays in permission to return to work, or refusing to schedule an evaluation setting forth a roadway for a healthcare professional to return to work are just some of PHMP's tricks.Claims of a significant impairment, requiring inpatient emergent care and work stoppage, with a signed form, is a trick. Medical issues and drug or alcohol addiction are important concerns. But so is a balanced life, paying bills, and a professional identity.

VRP/PHMP case workers do not consider the financial anxiety consequence of their threats and scare tactics. The anxiety exacerbates any medical condition and triggers more alcohol or drug use. In many occasions the PHMP worker is merely creating a hot button stress circumstance to see how the medical professional respond to increased circumstantial anxiety.


In this holiday time employment related alcohol use may create a holiday one time first offense DUI. Don't call the VRP, PHMP, PHP, SARPH, of PNAP. Don't call your work, don't tell anybody. Don't respond to the Letter of Concern.

Call me to discuss your options. Call me to get a better understanding of what are the collateral consequences of this mistake. Do not fall for any non-medical board regulatory entity that attempts to stress you out, trigger significant anxiety, and wreck your career. Do not let any PHMP case worker generate substantially more anxiety, medical, professional, or financial.

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