Mandated Reporting - Exceptions

In Massachusetts, there is a law that requires all health care providers (including doctors, nurses, psychologists, and others defined in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 111, section 1) to report to the Board of Registration in Medicine (BRM) whenever there is a reasonable basis to believe that a physician is in violation of any of the laws, rules, or regulations of the BRM. This law is set forth at G.L. c. 112, § 5F.

This includes 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.

There is also an exception to this mandated reporting requirement, which would allow mandated reporters to report to Physician Health Services instead of the BRM in certain defined circumstances. Specifically, the following requirements must be met for a diversionary report to be made to PHS:

  • The circumstances must involve a drug or alcohol problem
  • There must be no allegation of patient harm
  • The physician must agree to participate in PHS
  • The reporter must receive confirmation within 30 days from PHS that the physician is in compliance with the program

These specific requirements are set forth in the regulations of the Board of Registration in Medicine.

By serving as an approved diversionary program, PHS is able to provide confidential support services and assistance to a wider range of physicians facing problems of substance abuse.

Mandated Reporting - Obligations to Consider

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