Mandated Reporting - Obligations to Consider

In Massachusetts, the law mandates reporting to the BRM when there is a reasonable basis to believe that a physician is practicing medicine while impaired by drugs or alcohol, or when a physician is a habitual user of drugs or alcohol. In addition, there is an exception to the mandated reporting law which, in certain circumstances, allows a reporter to refer the physician to PHS instead of reporting to the BRM. You might consider consulting with an attorney of your own, or your workplace attorney, to decide whether the mandated reporting law or its exception applies to your fact situation. PHS can provide you with information regarding the law and its exception, but PHS cannot help you make this determination.

If the exception applies, you can refer the physician directly to PHS. If the exception does not apply, you must report to the BRM Physician Health and Compliance Unit, but at the same time you can also refer to PHS. (For information regarding how to make a report to the BRM, and potential outcomes of such a report, please contact the BRM directly.)

Whenever you have a concern about a physician, please call PHS as early as possible.

Early intervention provides the best opportunity to assist physicians directly, and to ultimately protect the interests of patients.

Things to consider when referring to PHS, or reporting a colleague to the BRM:

  • If you are making a referral to PHS under the exception to the mandated reporting law, please specify this at the time of referral. PHS will then be alerted that the referring party will be seeking confirmation of the physician's participation in PHS within 30 days.
  • Simply making a referral to PHS under the exception to the mandated reporting law is not enough. If a physician who is referred to PHS under this provision does not contact PHS, or is not cooperative with the recommendations of PHS within the designated time frame, you may still need to follow through with a report to the BRM.
  • If you do not hear from PHS within the 30 days, you should contact PHS directly. Because of the confidentiality laws that govern the work of PHS, PHS cannot speak with any third party, even a referring party, about a physician, unless PHS obtains a signed written release to do so. If PHS is aware that a referral has been made in accordance with the exception to the mandated reporting law, PHS will seek a release to communicate with the referral source. If you call, and PHS informs you that it cannot speak with you, then you must assume that you cannot fulfill the requirements of the exception to the mandated reporting law, and you may need to make your report to the BRM.

Remember to call PHS as early as possible in this process to consult with professionals experienced with intervention, the mandated reporting law and its exception.

Mandated Reporting - Exceptions

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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. 

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