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August 13, 2020

...before Joining

FAQs applicable to individuals who are considering joining the PHP.

If you are a current Georgia physician who is practicing under a consent order due to substance related disorders, you should strongly consider signing up with the Georgia Physicians Health Program. In most cases, the Georgia medical board enacted a consent order to ensure you participated in the proper long-term care for your substance abuse disorder. In such cases, the Georgia PHP can provide this care. This makes the consent order unnecessary.

Most of our current participants who previously operated under a consent order from the Georgia Composite Board of Medical Examiners have had their consent orders terminated upon successful entry into our monitoring process. This often eliminates difficulties with hospital medical staff applications, malpractice coverage, and third-party reimbursement. In the case of some specialty boards, our participants are allowed to re-credential in their specialty after joining the Georgia PHP.

This isn’t to say that you can sign up with the Georgia PHP and not continue your treatment and recovery process. The Georgia PHP, like the Georgia Medical Board, is committed to excellent care for our participants and for the safety of the general public. Part of our agreement with you is that you will participate in needed care. The rare participant who flagrantly discards proper treatment will go through a series of steps to reenter recovery. If the Georgia PHP exhausts the steps, our only choice would be to ask for the assistance of the Georgia Medical Board in helping you get back on track.

When you sign up with the Georgia PHP, we provide you access to the Affinity online system. Each week as you see your patients or clients and the Georgia Professionals Health Program, we ask that you record attendance for each participant in your group or for the sole client you see in therapy. You do not need to provide extensive notes about each session. However, if some important event occurs that needs documentation, please enter this into the system as well. Note the Affinity provides online training in the use of the documentation system. There is a help phone number on the website. We may be able to provide you with limited help, however, the experts at Affinity are happy to provide additional training.

In addition, please note that if a significant event occurs that requires our immediate attention, we urge you to contact us directly.

Prior to the establishment of the Georgia PHP, almost every physician who developed any substance-related disorder was reported to the board. The medical board would respond by requiring that physician to sign an agreement not to practice. Once their initial treatment was complete, such individuals made an appearance before the medical board and were asked to sign a consent order prior to return to practice. The consent order was essentially the medical board “consenting” to allow such a physician to return to practice as long as they agreed to stipulations regarding their illness. These consent orders were either “private” or “public.”

Initially, the private consent orders were felt to be non-discoverable documents by third-party payers and credentialing bodies. Unfortunately, over the years these agencies found ways of requiring physicians to report these private agreements. Physicians under private or public consent orders often were ejected from insurance panels, denied malpractice coverage, or even had their board certifications removed.

With the institution of the Georgia PHP, many of these onerous and punitive responses can be prevented. Physicians who enroll with the Georgia PHP are provided confidential care in the majority of cases. This confidential care circumvents the need for legal action by the board and prevents our participants from having to sign a “consent order.”

 Unfortunately, the PHP cannot provide this anonymous care to one hundred percent of its participants. A few individuals may have legal or other issues which prevent the PHP from providing confidential support. In such cases, we work hand-in-hand with the Georgia Medical Board to help maintain your health. In these cases, our participants will have a consent order from the Georgia Medical Board and the support of the Georgia PHP.

If you, your spouse or loved one has entered inpatient, residential or outpatient treatment for substance abuse or a psychiatric disorder that includes the abuse of addictive substances, we strongly urge you to contact us. We can help you find the most effective care. In addition, we can help ensure that this care is obtained in the most respectful and confidential way.

If you or your loved one is a physician or physician assistant in Georgia with the substance abuse condition, we urge you to contact the Georgia PHP. We can assist you in obtaining a thorough evaluation of your needs. If some type of care is needed, we also help you find the best initial care with providers who have expertise in treating addiction among healthcare workers.

Addiction disorders are chronic by nature, and require a tapering, lifelong vigilance to ensure they remain in remission. The Georgia physicians health program staff are among the nation’s leading experts in this area of health care. Once you have completed your evaluation and initial treatment, you will be placed in the PHP continuing care system which is evidence-based and has a high prognosis of an excellent long-term outcome.

But our work with you does not stop there. We assist physicians in their relations with hospitals, credentialing bodies, board specialty agencies, and malpractice carriers. Most importantly, in the vast majority of cases are support is confidential. In confidential cases, the Georgia Medical Board has agreed that they do not need to know about you and your license is protected. Protecting your license also decreases the probability that any reports will make it to the National Practitioners Databank.

We believe that working with the Georgia PHP provides a win-win situation for everyone. Physicians obtain confidential care without the fear of reprisal and the public safety is assured. If you have questions, please feel free to call us or email us.

If you are under the monitoring and care of a professionals health program in another state and wish to move and practice in Georgia, you will need to enroll with the Georgia PHP prior to obtaining Georgia licensure. To ensure that you are appropriate candidate for the Georgia PHP, we will require records of your past treatment and monitoring. If we have questions or concerns about your monitoring or recovery, we may require you to meet with the Georgia PHP clinical staff or, in rare cases, obtain additional assessment. Most of the time we accept direct transfers from other well-established professionals health programs.

Please see the FAQ: “How do I enroll in the Georgia PHP?” for more information.

The first step in enrolling with the Georgia PHP is to request an enrollment packet. We suggest you email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to obtain this packet. If you have questions that this website does not answer, please feel free to email us or call us at 855-myGA PHP (855-694-2747).

There are three types of individuals who should join the Georgia PHP:

  1. Individuals who have a newly diagnosed substance related disorder and its related conditions.
  2. Individuals who are under current the Georgia Medical Board consent order-based monitoring system managed by a private treatment center.
  3. Individuals who are in another state who would like to practice in Georgia and have a known substance related disorder and current monitoring program in their home state.

To ensure that you are appropriate candidate for the Georgia PHP, we will require records of your past treatment, if any. If we determine that you need assessment or initial treatment, we will enroll you while you are obtaining evaluation and/or treatment.

Once you have completed the necessary paperwork, some individuals may need to be seen by our clinical staff prior to enrollment. Other individuals may be scheduled to see our clinical staff sometime after their enrollment. You will then sign up with our monitoring agency for drug screening and behavioral monitoring (tracking your self-help group and therapy attendance).

Depending on where you are in your recovery process, we will assign you to a caduceus group and/or a small group therapy. Many of our participants are directed towards individual or family therapy as well.

If you enroll with the Georgia PHP, you need not report your loved one or yourself to the medical board in Georgia.

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