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December 04, 2021

General

FAQs applicable to all of our web site visitors.

What is the Georgia PHP?

The Georgia Professionals Health Program (Georgia PHP, Inc.) is a nonprofit organization formed in 2012 to assist all licensees of…

The Georgia Professionals Health Program (Georgia PHP, Inc.) is a nonprofit organization formed in 2012 to assist all licensees of the Georgia Composite Medical Board, who develop potentially impairing conditions, mental illnesses, to include depression, substance use and other addictive disorders. We are not, per se, a treatment organization. Rather, we provide initial triage, referral into treatment, treatment quality monitoring, and long-term care monitoring for addiction and other mental/behavioral health disorders. The Georgia Professionals Health Program was made possible by state law passed in 2010. The law provides for a structured relationship between the medical board and the services of the Georgia PHP. We are not a licensing or sanctioning body. We are a voluntary organization and see our mission as helping Georgia healthcare providers remain healthy and in doing so, to improve the health of all citizens of our state. We do not obtain any funding from state government or agencies. The majority of our funding comes from participant fees. We also pursue grant funding from benevolent benefactors in agencies that benefit from our services.

What does a PHP do?

A professional health program (PHP) has many functions. The overall goal of any PHP is to help healthcare providers with…

A professional health program (PHP) has many functions. The overall goal of any PHP is to help healthcare providers with mental health and substance use problems obtain the care they need and, in doing so, to improve public safety. The Georgia PHP has a charter with the Georgia Composite Medical Board to care for physicians, physician’s assistants, respiratory therapists and others who are licensed by the board. Our current agreement is that we will manage licensees who have mental health disorders, substance related disorders or any othr potentially impairing conditions. In some cases, compassionate disease monitoring i in lieu of board attention or action.

Prior to 2012, when a Georgia physician or physician’s assistant developed an addiction disorder or mental illness, the medical board mandated that such individuals report themselves to the board. This reporting requirement was designed to ensure safety to the public. Research has shown that the majority of healthcare providers with substance use disorders do not pose a risk to the public. However, the Georgia Composite Medical Board wisely chose to act in the interest of public safety.

A professional health program changes this process. If individuals who develop substance use disorder or mental illness are identified early in their course, they can be referred for confidential treatment. The professional health program then goes on to monitor the care of the chronic disease of addiction or mental illness.

The Georgia PHP has five specific activities:

  1. To receive information from many sources about individuals who may be having difficulties with depression, substance use disorders and related conditions.
  2. To refer such individuals into a properly structured evaluation and/or treatment if indicated.
  3. To monitor the initial treatment and assist the healthcare professional to build a safe plan for their return to work.
  4. To manage the chronic nature of such illnesses. In addiction disorders, this is done through drug screen monitoring, self-help group attendance, psychotherapy as needed, and promoting general health and wellness practices.
  5. To educate hospitals, third-party payers, malpractice insurance carriers, licensing agencies, specialty boards and all other healthcare professionals across the state about its work in ensuring public safety. We also provide education to the general public.

In a larger sense, the professional health program builds a community of support that ensures the health and wellness of healthcare professionals across our state.

We have an employee (staff physician) currently in the PHP. What type of documentation should I expect from Georgia PHP?

The Georgia Professional Health Program follows the guidelines established by the Federation of State Physician Health Programs (FSPHP) regarding communication…

The Georgia Professional Health Program follows the guidelines established by the Federation of State Physician Health Programs (FSPHP) regarding communication with hospitals and other healthcare agencies. As such, we provide quarterly letters that attest to a participants compliance with the Georgia PHP. For confidentiality reasons, we do not re-release the results of urine drug screens, evaluations, treatment, or psychotherapy records.

We do require that all of our participants sign releases for their practice and credentialing institutions prior to communication with you. If the Georgia PHP has an emergent concern about one of our participants, we will take steps to assert public safety. Because we have a signed release for credentialing institutions, we will communicate this concern as soon as is practical.

My spouse entered treatment. Should I contact the medical board?

If you, your spouse or loved one has entered inpatient residential or outpatient treatment for a substance use or psychiatric…

If you, your spouse or loved one has entered inpatient residential or outpatient treatment for a substance use or psychiatric disorder, you do not need to contact the Georgia Composite Medical Board. By contacting the Georgia PHP, you are able to keep treatment confidential and at the same time protect your Georgia medical license.

As long as you or your loved one is maintained in a PHP-approved treatment process, you do not need to make a subsequent report to the Georgia Composite Medical Board. If your case becomes known to the Georgia Composite Medical Board at some later date (because a colleague or other concerned individual calls the board), the medical board may contact us. We will then, in turn, let you know about this contact and reassure the Georgia Composite Medical Board of your (or your loved one's) compliance with treatment. Only in rare cases will the Georgia Composite Medical Board need to know about your situation.

My partners and I are concerned about a colleague. What should we do?

If you are concerned about the mental health of a colleague, please contact us via email (webinquiry@gaphp.org) or by phone (855-694-2747).…

If you are concerned about the mental health of a colleague, please contact us via email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or by phone (855-694-2747). Because Georgia has its own professional health program, you can assist your colleague in obtaining confidential care. The staff of the Georgia PHP regularly receives intake calls about professionals who may be in trouble. Each case is handled uniquely, based on clinical need. Some cases require a direct referral into an assessment or even treatment. Other cases may benefit from gathering additional data about your colleague’s situation. Doing nothing when you have a concern is not a good approach. And now, thanks to the confidential Georgia PHP program, humane and definitive care is available to Georgia providers.

The Georgia PHP can direct you in obtaining additional information and in ways of helping assist a colleague to obtain needed care. We can also help you protect your hospital or practice while investigating your concerns.

I am a physician in Georgia and just obtained a DUI. Should I contact you?

If you are a physician in Georgia and have been arrested and/or charged in a DUI or other substance related…

If you are a physician in Georgia and have been arrested and/or charged in a DUI or other substance related event, it is in your best interest to contact the Georgia PHP. You will need to report this information to the medical board and having us at your side guiding the proper response to this event is critical.

Please refer to other areas of this website and contact us for additional information.

Does the Georgia PHP provide treatment?

The Georgia PHP, like all professional health programs, is not a treatment provider per se. Instead, we provide initial triage,…

The Georgia PHP, like all professional health programs, is not a treatment provider per se. Instead, we provide initial triage, referral, and treatment quality management. We carefully select and reevaluate providers who perform the actual treatment, ensuring they provide state-of-the-art care for healthcare professionals. This quality review process extends to our assessors, initial treatment programs, the substance screening process, as well as ongoing needed psychotherapy. In many ways, a PHP is like an employee assistance program whose goal it is to increase the health by managing chronic disease care.

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