We expect a lot from our physicians. They are constantly under pressure to perform and when making decisions that will affect the health and well-being of their patients, there is no room for error.
But physicians are human, too. They can succumb to addictions, emotional or mental illness, behavioral issues, stress and burnout, like everyone else. The difference is their problems can directly impact the safety of the patients they care for. Fortunately the Tennessee Medical Foundation’s Physician’s Health Program (PHP) addresses concerns that are specific to physicians, while working to protect the safety of patients in Tennessee.
As health care changes for all of us, the physician’s world is rapidly changing. They’re experiencing disruption in the traditional roles of physician and patient with new levels of oversight and regulation at the federal level. They’re spending more time handling paperwork and administrative tasks and less time with patient care – the reason most of them say they went into medicine to begin with. They’re seeing dramatic shift in their environment as smaller practices are bought up by larger practice groups or hospitals. The levels of stress are higher and the levels of professional satisfaction are lower than ever before.
In these scenarios, physician self-care suffers and in recent years has led to a noticeable rise in certain types of cases referred to the TMF. The Physician’s Health Program offers confidential expertise and resources for the physician struggling with addictions, mental or emotional illness, or coping with these stressors in unhealthy ways. In most cases, PHP participants are able to enter sustained recovery and are restored to meaningful practice.
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