How Physician Health Services Works

Physician Health Services, Inc. (PHS) is a confidential resource for physicians, residents, medical students, group practices, HMO networks, and hospitals with medical student or physician health concerns, including behavioral or mental health issues, substance use disorders, and/or physical illness.

PHS provides a safe environment for physicians to talk to their peers about the stress and demands of modern medical practice. Our assessments are designed to identify the health concerns impacting the affected individual’s life and provide recommendations and resources to assist that person.

Anyone is welcome and encouraged to contact PHS on his or her own behalf. PHS receives referrals from colleagues, family members, friends, hospitals, medical schools, and the Board of Registration in Medicine.

When someone contacts PHS, the director and associate directors assess the situation and guide the individual through the appropriate channels. Participation with PHS is voluntary and confidential. PHS will strongly urge a physician who is ill to get help, and although PHS does not provide direct treatment, we will suggest specific resource and treatment options. PHS hosts a number of support group meetings for physicians and medical students in recovery, as well as for those who seek peer support.

When PHS determines that a physician has a substance use disorder, is at risk for impairment, or has a behavioral health concern that warrants monitoring, the physician is encouraged to enter into a PHS monitoring contract. The monitoring contract specifies a course of treatment and documents the physician’s compliance with the treatment plan.

The standard contract requires individual therapy, group support meetings, regular meetings with a designated PHS associate director, random urine drug tests (if indicated), and regular interaction with a monitor and chief of service in the workplace who agree to help document the physician’s compliance. PHS services are confidential, and most are provided at no cost.

Services include expert consultation and assessment designed to encourage medical students and physicians to obtain help for substance use, behavioral or mental health concerns, or physical illness. PHS and its practitioners are not direct treatment providers. However, PHS does provide the following services:  

  • Referral to treatment and counseling
  • Recovery monitoring and documentation
  • Support groups for physicians, medical students, and their families
  • Networking opportunities with colleagues experiencing similar issues
  • Educational programs and presentations for hospitals, HMOs, and medical staff meetings
  • Guidance to hospitals and health care organizations regarding how to handle matters of physician health
  • Grand rounds, lectures, and speeches at committee and specialty society meetings  

PHS provides assistance with a wide variety of personal and professional situations. Any one of the following issues may represent a reason to refer someone to PHS or contact us:

  • Difficulty balancing work and family
  • Difficulty dealing with stress or financial pressure
  • Difficulties managing a practice or coping with a competitive work environment
  • Difficulty dealing with administrative burdens
  • Challenges with retirement planning or a career change
  • Distressed or disruptive behavior
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Malpractice stress
  • Stress following an unexpected outcome or medical error
  • Coping with having witnessed and/or participated in an atrocity-producing situation
  • Medically induced trauma
  • Alcohol and substance use concerns
  • Personality disorders
  • Comorbid psychiatric disorders
  • Mood disorders
  • Concerns about loss of memory and age-related challenges
  • Attention issues
  • Learning disabilities
  • Sleep disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Medical problems
  • Professional boundary issues
  • Domestic violence
  • Marital problems
  • Compulsive gambling
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