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The Tennessee Medical Foundation offers assistance to distressed physicians through its Physicians Health Program (PHP). PHP works with physicians on a variety issues including drug and alcohol dependency and addiction, disruptive behaviors, psychiatric disorders, stress issues, cognitive deficits and boundary issues. PHP helps physicians and other health care providers with treatment, recovery and a return to their practice. PHP has a 24-hour phone line, 615-467-6411. 

The TMF and PHP have created a handout about Handling Distressed Physician Behavior. You can download a copy here

A PHP brochure is available here for download. 

PHP services are available to:

  • Physicians – MDs and DOs
  • Families of physicians
  • Medical students
  • Residents
  • Physician Assistants
  • Optometrists
  • Podiatrists
  • Veterinarians
  • Chiropractors
  • X-Ray Technicians

How the Process Works

Identification
The Tennessee Medical Foundation (TMF) maintains a 24-hour phone line for family members, patients, and co-workers to report, confidentially, their concerns about a physician.

Verification
The TMF PHP medical director and/or case managers attempt to verify the reported behavior. If the behavior is not verified, the process is halted or the information is held for further inquiry.

Interview
If the need for help is substantiated, the physician is asked to make an appointment for an interview with TMF PHP personnel. In exchange for support, the physician is invited to follow the recommendations of the PHP in seeking specified evaluation/treatment at his or her own expense.

Treatment
All treatment is carried out in approved hospitals and treatment facilities. Physicians affected by other emotional or behavioral conditions are treated with an initial evaluation and subsequently prescribed inpatient and/or intensive outpatient therapy.

Re-Entry
Re-Entry into practice usually occurs within one or two weeks following treatment. During this period, the PHP is often the physician’s strongest – and sometimes only – ally. The PHP medical director and case managers work in concert with the treatment center’s recommendations to establish contractual ground rules for re-entry into practice.

Aftercare
Aftercare is usually a five-year process. It is guided by an individualized contract, comprised of recommendations of the PHP and the treatment facility. The TMF offers guidance and accountability in the recommended aspects of each participant’s recovery.