TMF Physician Burnout Efforts Highlighted to Hospital CMOs

TMF Medical Director Dr. Michael Baron discusses the Foundation’s efforts to tackle the growing problem of physician burnout.

Physician Burnout is a rising problem that has the attention of national healthcare leaders like the Federation of State Physician Health Programs, Federation of State Medical Boards, American Medical Association, Johns Hopkins Hospital, the Mayo Clinic, National Academy of Medicine and the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education. That from TMF Medical Director Michael Baron, MD, MPH, as he spoke to the Tennessee Hospital Association’s (THA) Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Society on May 3.

Dr. Baron added that along with the TMF, the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners and State Volunteer Mutual Insurance Company are also engaged in finding tools and strategies to combat the physician burnout problem in Tennessee.

Non-Alcohol Cases Increasing

The THA CMO Society invited the TMF to update its members on issues addressed by the TMF Physician’s Health Program (PHP). Increasingly, Dr. Baron said the TMF is being called in to help with mental or emotional illness, behavior problems like anger, disruption or boundary violations, as well as a rising burnout problem among physicians. “Only about half of the cases we deal with currently are alcohol- or drug-related,” he said.

TMF Administrator Mike Todd (L) poses with TMF Board member Dr. Clay Runnels of BalladHealth in Johnson City.

Recent studies have shown more than half of physicians suffer from at least one symptom of burnout, Dr. Baron said, adding the rate is even higher in some specialties. He emphasized it is important to address burnout early, before it leads to more serious consequences down the road, including impairment and patient harm.

TMF Administrator Michael Todd also spoke to the group, explaining that the PHP is solely funded by grants and donations, and appealed for more help from Tennessee hospitals.

“We are grateful to the THA and especially Senior Vice President Jim Goodloe for the opportunity to get in front of this important group,” said Mr. Todd, adding, “We also want to thank our TMF Board member Clay Runnels, MD, who is also a member of the CMO Society. He was instrumental in making this meeting happen.”

“These are the healthcare stakeholders we hear from every day about doctors who need help. CMOs need to know about the programs and services we offer, as well as those we are developing to meet the changing physician health challenges in Tennessee. They need to know that we are here to support them, and that we need their support as well,” he said.

Need Help?

If you or someone you know is a health professional needing assistance, contact the TMF at 615-467-6411 or use our contact form online at For more information on the Physician Health Program, visit our FAQ page. To donate to the TMF, click here.

Learn More

Read Dr. Baron’s SVMIC Articles on Physician Burnout: