History of PHS

More than 20 years ago, a group of physicians got together on an ad hoc basis to offer support to colleagues in crisis. In response to what was viewed as a critical need, this ad hoc group formed the Impaired Physician’s Committee. Its charter was to address physician health issues. More specifically, the Committee sought to help prevent problems, identify colleagues in trouble, refer them for treatment, and monitor their recovery.

Before long, there were 30 members of this free-standing committee of the Massachusetts Medical Society -- all of them volunteers. In the mid-1980s, the committee changed its name and became the Physician Health Committee. In part, this move was made because doctors who got help from the committee -- and recovered -- could no longer be considered “impaired,” although they continued to be involved on a follow-up basis with counseling, support groups, or other activities. In addition, despite problems of substance use and addiction, only a small fraction of physicians were actually professionally impaired, as this is usually the last area in one’s life that is affected by this illness.

The increasing number of referrals and the demand for more sophisticated monitoring resulted in the Society’s development of these services in the early 90s. In 1993, Physician Health Services (PHS) was incorporated as a nonprofit subsidiary of the Massachusetts Medical Society. Since then, PHS has been able to receive charitable contributions. When all the major malpractice carriers and the captive insurers agreed to provide level funding to support PHS, a full time staff was hired and services were enhanced. At the same time, the Medical Society sponsored legislation, which was later signed into law, conferring peer-review protection on the work PHS does. This is important because it now means we can assure confidentiality to anyone who comes to PHS for help.

Since then, the number of referrals to PHS has increased to the point where we now have a staff that includes a director, a director of operations, an attorney, five associate directors who are based in various locations across Massachusetts, and three administrative staff. All outreach, education, support, and monitoring services are available throughout the state.

Share on Facebook


PHS is actively recruiting for a Medical Director. This is a unique opportunity to be an important part of a mission driven non-profit organization that supports the health, well-being, and effectiveness of physicians and medical students in MA. PHS is currently accepting applications, through the job posting here: MMS website. Please review the job description and apply. You may also contact a member of the search committee: Mary Anna Sullivan, MD, Chair, PHS Board of Directors; Glenn Pransky, MD, Director, PHS Board of Directors; Booker Bush, MD, Director, PHS Board of Directors; Dustin Patil, MD, Director, PHS Board of Directors; Bara Litman-Pike, PsyD, Executive Director PHS.

PHS is looking for great candidates to apply to this important position. We welcome your interest. The job is posted on this link on the MMS website.**


PHS is sad to announce that Dr. Steven Adelman has decided to step down from his current position as Medical Director of Physician Health Services, Inc at the end of February 2021. During his eight (8) years of service his efforts have touched the lives and helped the careers of more than one thousand distressed physicians and medical students. He has brought a commitment and passion to the pursuit of PHS’s mission, while expanding the breadth, depth and quality of its services. His success is our success.

Dr. Adelman is planning to pursue other professional interests and opportunities. As PHS begins its search for a new Medical Director, Dr. Adelman will be an important part of our search team, and he will work closely with PHS’s Executive Director, Dr. Bara Litman-Pike.

PHS is very grateful for Dr. Adelman’s leadership and service. His work and that of his staff has been a source of pride to all of us at PHS and MMS. The medical profession and its patients are the ultimate beneficiaries of his tireless efforts.

PHS is looking for great candidates to apply to this important position. We welcome your interest. The job is posted on this link on the MMS website.

The 23rd PHS Annual Dinner Gathering, originally scheduled for May 6, 2020, will be postponed and rescheduled for a later date in 2020 due to the current COVID-19 healthcare crisis. PHS looks forward to seeing everyone and will send an announcement once a new date has been determined. Please contact 781-434-7404 if you have questions. Thank you for all you do.

As you may know, the Board of Registration in Medicine has enacted new regulations for Massachusetts licensed physicians.  Please be assured that PHS continues to provide confidential consultation and assistance, without change, to MA physicians, medical students, and medical leaders. Please feel free to call PHS (781-434-7404) with any questions. 

- August 14, 2019

Donate 10-25-2018
Med Prof Empowerment Program 2018

2019 Annual Report

In Honor Of

Michael Palmer, MD

The Michael Palmer, MD Medical Student Health Lecture Series

Copyright © 2018 Physician Health Services 860 Winter Street, Waltham Woods Corporate Center, Waltham, MA 02451-1411

(781) 434-7404  |  (800) 322-2303 x7404  |  Fax (781) 893-5321  | Email  
This email is not secure and is intended for general inquiries only - please do not include personal health or confidential information in an email - call PHS directly for this purpose at 781-434-7404.