There seems to be a willful ignorance or apathy among the medical profession at large regarding Physician Health Programs (PHPs). Perhaps most take the side of the PHPs complacent in the belief that these groups are just helping sick doctors and protecting the public. The mere accusation of substance abuse or “disruptive” behavior is in-and-of- itself used to disregard the claims of the accused. Any and all complaints of malpractice, misconduct and even crimes are deflected, turfed or dismissed–rendered as nothing more than “bellyaching.”
In reality the misconduct and abuse perpetrated by the PHPs is commensurate with the behavior of Dr. Farid Fata, the Detroit Oncologist who intentionally misdiagnosed patients with cancer so he could make money off unnecessary chemotherapy treatment. Dr. Fata’s egregious betrayal of trust and unconscionable acts generated a flurry of comments. His vile acts resulted in an appropriate response.
The exact same misconduct is being perpetrated by PHPs but being overlooked, justified or otherwise ignored. Dr. Fata intentionally misdiagnosed patients with cancer who did not have cancer so he could give them chemotherapy to make money. PHPs are intentionally misdiagnosing substance abuse and behavioral disorders in physicians who do not have them in order to give them unneeded treatment and force them into monitoring contracts to both make money and gain control.
It undermines the very integrity of the profession. It is particularly vile when the betrayal of trust involves doing the opposite with what one was entrusted. Abuse of positions of power, trust and influence in the field of medicine need to be both prevented, recognized and addressed. Oversight, regulation and accountability are essential if this is going to be accomplished. There are no exceptions. Policies and procedures must be enforced in a consistent manner.