What it Means to Be a Monitor

The assistance and support volunteer monitors provide to colleagues working with Physician Health Services, Inc. (PHS) are essential and often contribute significantly to the recovery and well-being of the physician. When a physician contracts with PHS for a substance use disorder or behavioral monitoring contract, physician monitors are assigned for a long-term period — typically two to five years.

The role of the monitor is to observe the contracted physician’s demeanor, appearance, and interactions at his or her workplace. The monitor is someone who works with the physician on a regular basis and, to the extent possible, has limited conflict of interest. The monitor should be a stable, trustworthy person as well as watchful and supportive of the physician.

A workplace monitor is not alone in this role. In addition to PHS support, a chief of service is listed on the contract for each monitored physician. PHS dedicates resources to ensure monitors are provided with information that outlines the important details of the role they play in the contracting physician’s recovery. “A PHS associate director is assigned to every client and is available to monitors — whether for information or to answer questions that might arise,” said Ruthann Rizzi, MD, PHS associate director.

There are times when a physician is not currently working, yet needs a physician to serve as a monitor. This is an important time for the physician to have an additional source of support from a colleague. PHS also monitors medical students. In those cases, medical school physicians serve in the role of monitor.

Monitors typically meet with the physician weekly and are available should a problem arise. The weekly meetings should be in a private, comfortable, and secure location, and consist of open-ended questions and discussion about work, family, social life, recreation, and hobbies. Monitors should be especially attuned to personality and behavioral changes, as well as unusual workplace behavior.

Monitors are asked to complete a PHS quarterly report form about the physician’s progress. PHS and its physician associate directors are available for monitors to contact with questions or concerns.

Physicians are encouraged to consider the role of monitor when the opportunity arises. “Providing support for a colleague in a time of need can be a rewarding contribution to a peer and to the profession if you feel you have the time to give back,” said John Wolfe, MD, PHS associate director.

Are you interested in assisting PHS by volunteering as a monitor to a colleague in your hospital or practice, or to be available if the need arises in your facility or area? If so, call PHS at (781) 434-7404.

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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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