Gay Doctor coerced by Physician Health Program (PHP) into mandated 12-step treatment and monitoring for sex addiction: The slippery slope begins


State Physician Health Programs -coercion, control and abuse.

This anecdote concerning  a gay doctor’s revelation he liked his non monogamous lifestyle leading  to a forced acceptance of a “sex addiction”  diagnosis, mandatory inpatient treatment and indoctrination into 12-step recovery was just posted on the physician social network SERMO.    If the pattern looks familiar it is.

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Physician Health Programs (PHPs) are non-profit NGOs that exist in every state ostensibly to help impaired doctors and protect the public from harm.  PHPs have no regulation or oversight and have essentially removed all accountability. Under the ruse of protecting a doctors anonymity and providing confidentiality they have built barriers of opacity.  Most doctors are unaware how they work unless they become involved with them and they are not on the radar of the public at large–they need to be.

Organized under the Federation of State Physician Health Programs, (FSPHP),  state medical boards have abdicated their responsibility and consider them expert authority on all things related to physician health–a logical fallacy that has placed illegitimate and irrational authority in professional control of medicine once again proving that knowledge isn’t power and ignorance often reigns.

PHPs encourage confidential referrals for “warning signs” such as those on the list below from the Massachusetts PHP, PHS, Inc. and guarantee  the reporters anonymity.  All semblance of due process has been removed.  Medical boards have given state PHPS complete and absolute managerial control over  assessment,  treatment and monitoring.  PHPs are not healthcare providers but monitoring agencies.  If a PHP recommends an “assessment” of a reported doctor there is no choice in the matter.   No allowances for a second opinion,  outside support or appeal exist.Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 7.33.17 AM

This doctor was apparently reported to his state PHP because a patient thought she smelled alcohol on his breath.  As it turned out, the accusation was bogus but by being honest and forthcoming about his sexual orientation in the interview the PHP mandated an “assessment.” for unrelated issues.  A not uncommon scenario as reports of behavioral issues often end up with hair tests for alcohol and other substances resulting in mandated assessments for “substance use disorder” followed by a five-year monitoring contract with the PHP and weekly urine tests.

The PHP provides  a list  of three or four facilities drawn from the same pool of “PHP-approved” assessment and treatment centers. However, an audit of the N.C. PHP found no written objective criteria or quantitative measurements existed on how these assessment and treatment centers are “approved” by the PHP.  The common denominator seems to be that these facilities are  (1) 12-step ASAM directed, and (2) willing to “tailor” an assessment to support a predetermined diagnosis. It is, in fact, a rigged game.  Unfortunately the medical boards have been duped into mandating assessments at these centers under threat of loss of medical license and specifically exclude non “PHP-approved” assessments.

This scaffold  is also the unspoken and hushed major contributor to physician suicide—It is the elephant in the room no one speaks of out of fear of being targeted.    Doctors who really need help for mental health, substance abuse or other issues are afraid to get it for fear of being reported to the PHP.  Those already monitored are subject to all sorts of psychological, financial and emotional abuse.

The Federation of State Physician Health Programs (FSPHP)  has a relationship with Pine Grove.  It is one of the “PHP-approved” facilities and two of their staff, Phillip Hemphill, PhD and James C. “Jes” Montgomery, MD are are listed as Program Faculty at the FSPHP annual educational conference and business meeting on April 24-27, 2015 in Fort Worth Texas.


Political Abuse of Psychiatry

Political abuse of psychiatry is the “misuse of psychiatric diagnosis, detention and treatment for the purposes of obstructing the fundamental human rights of certain groups and individuals in a society.  The coercive use of psychiatry represents a violation of basic human rights in all Cultures.Screen shot 2013-05-13 at 1.29.38 PM

What has occurred in the medical profession is no different from China or the Soviet Union under totalitarian rule where dissent is disapproved, often punished, and those perceived as threats to the existing system can be effectively “neutralized with trumped up psychiatric illness” and by this stigmatization reputations were ruined, power was diminished, and voices were hushed.

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Political abuse of psychiatry involves the deliberate action of diagnosing someone with a mental condition they do not have as a means of repression or control and if you do not believe it is occurring right here today then take a look here and here to see how they are colluding with commercial drug testing companies to engage in forensic fraud and the assessment and the treatment centers to fabricate data to support non-existent diagnoses.

“Sex Addiction” used as a tool to Discriminate

There has been a lot of “chatter” in PHP circles concerning “sex addiction” and I knew they had been aligning themselves and setting up specialized programs at certain facilities.  It seemed unusual as many of the key players who erected and run this scaffold have themselves been involved in sexual misconduct.   Screen Shot 2015-01-09 at 5.22.34 PM


One of the architects of the current system, Dr. Robert Walzer, M.D., J.D. who was instrumental in tinkering with administrative and medical practice laws to remove the due process and appeal rights of doctors surrendered his license in 2001 due to inappropriate sexual relationships with patients.  He was the co-author of the current physician health program paradigm.

  Dr. Margaret bean-Byog, M.D, Chairman of the credentialing 7109298-Mcommittee for the first certification exam and ASAM president surrendered her medical license after being accused  of sexually abusing one of her patients, a Harvard medical student who subsequently died by suicide.

Somehow, I don't think this is quite what they had in mind!And the FSPHP seems to treat doctors involved in sexually related misconduct in a favorable light.  Take for instance, Dr. James Peak, M.D., a child psychiatrist who was sent to prison on a federal child pornography conviction taken under the wing of the Montana PHP.  After “proving” he only ‘”looked” at pornography of young boys but never abused any using a polygraph “lie-detector” test his license was reinstated in no time at all.  His treatment includes going to one AA meeting and one 12-step sex addict meeting per week.  My guess is they need more staff at the PHP or one of the assessment centers.

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I had been wondering what the motivation was behind this focus on “sex addiction” and my suspicions seem to be correct.

  I have since heard of a second case of a gay doctor being forced into his state Physician Health Program (PHP) in Alabama.

Once under the control of the PHP most doctors are afraid to come forward because of the “swift and certain” consequences imposed on them.  All they have to do is say the doctor was “noncompliant” to the medical board and it is over.  They lose their license and there is not a thing they can do about. it.  I have heard from doctors in multiple states going to law enforcement,  the Attorney General,  the media and the ACLU only to have the door slammed in their faces. Myself included.    .

 The coercion, control, ethics, and civil and human rights violations remain hidden.  The crimes remain hidden. So too will this.

It appears the FSPHP is following the same pattern they have with the “impaired” and “disruptive” physicians–to discriminate.    The targeting of gay, lesbian or transgender doctors for what they do in their private lives is predictable.  It is an inevitable part of this well oiled slope of coercion, control, obedience and abuse.

The import of this can not be overestimated.


Position Statement on Political Abuse of Psychiatry. Paper presented at: Global Initiative on Psychiatry2005.Birley JL.

Political abuse of psychiatry. Acta psychiatrica Scandinavica. Supplementum. 2000;399:13-15.


24 thoughts on “Gay Doctor coerced by Physician Health Program (PHP) into mandated 12-step treatment and monitoring for sex addiction: The slippery slope begins

  1. All of this kind of reminds me of the evangelists that talk about the sins of the body and browbeat their followers into thinking they are such horrible people, when it is, in fact the evangelists that who are more guilty than anyone of the sins they preach against.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Disrupted Physician and commented:

    A legitimate interest in the private behavior of a doctor should be limited to behaviors that have a legitimate impact on that doctor’s capacity to work. Though it is pretended that these programs are being maintained for the benefit of doctors and the public it is apparent that they only serve to injure both.

    The Federation of State Physician Health Programs (FSPHP) is following the same pattern they have with the “impaired” and “disruptive” physician constructs to discriminate and control with ignorance, bigotry, intolerance and stupidity.

    The targeting of gay, lesbian or transgender doctors for what they do in their private lives is predictable. One doctor told me that the state PHP told him that if he did not cooperate in addition to losing his medical license the state medical board would make his sexual history part of the public record.

    The civil and human rights violations remain hidden. The crimes remain hidden. So too will this. More sheep for the slaughter.

    It is an inevitable part of this well oiled slope of coercion, control, obedience and abuse.The import of this can not be overestimated.


  3. I was sober and transferred facilities because I wanted to be closer to home. I remained sober and was in thier haflway house and was told that I was about to relaspe – when other people were acting out overtly, using, etc. They were not penalized like I was and I was coerced into inpatient treatment again (low money, family dynamics in play). It killed me. Five years ago. I wanted to switch facilities and they would not let me out and my relationship to my family was in the balance. So I returned to the their halfway “transitional living program” for a year and remained sober and attended all meetings required but they still didn’t do anything for me. I watched as people acted out but if they worked the steps (even if they were acting out and did not tell anyone) they were promoted out of the system. I was targeted as they had 3 different people leave the facility in the duration that I was there, in the first 3 months that I was there. I had told all three that I was sober. Two of them I know were very offended by my treatment. This was all five years ago and I have been an emotional wreck due to bullying from the therapists, the residents. I literally could not function and still have difficulty.

    The clinical director was a prick. Met with me once and revised my whole diagnosis.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A couple suggestions: (1) regarding the gay doc forced into “sex addiction” therapy, having only skimmed the story — there may be recourse for this person at the EEOC Office of Civil Rights, which enforces law that forbids discrimination based on sexual-orientation. The doc may be able to do the complaint themselves without the expense of any attorney — assuming the EEOC has jurisdiction.

    Whether the EEOC has enforcement power against state gov’t and its agencies (assuming the group compelling the “sex addition” therapy is a state agency), I do not know. If not, I would then look to see if there is any law violated that would implicate involvement of the Justice Dept because they typically have broader enforcement power that includes jursidction over state government and its agencies.

    What is occurring may also violate state law.

    Another thought: I do not know if the Americans with Disabilities Act covers healthcare discrimination related to addictions. Are addictions covered? and does the physician meet the broad, and very generous definition of “disabled”? (See, If the answers to these two questions is “yes,” you may have a Title II or Title III claim, or possibly even a retaliation claim under the ADA, which is enforced by the U.S. Justice Departent, which also has power to enforce the ADA against state government and its agencies.

    My suggestion is to get on Google and dig through the information that comes up regarding laws protecting employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation. If there is no empower-employee relationship, then would explore any remedies through Justice Dept or US Attorneys Office as well as State AG’s Office.

    I would also suggest the gay doc seek advice through the national office of LAMBDA Legal. There are also other public interest lawyers who specialist in LGBT work.

    And in all of the cases I’ve seen presented here, it would seem important to hire an honest, clear-eyed, unbiased forensic psychiatrist to defend oneself. I would not go into these places alone. It can be tough to find the right forensic psychiatrist, but DO NOT REFER YOURSELF. This could be seen as tainting the testimony. Make sure the referral is made by an attorney or another physician — but do not self-refer.

    Another idea: if the doctors meting out discipline are as financially entangled with these rehab programs as is claimed, it seems to raise an issue of a potential Stark Law violation. The Stark law was enacted to bar physicians from referring patients to institutions where they have a financial interest. The DHHS Office of Inspector General would be expected to investigation such a violation. Or perhaps your local US Attorneys Office would get involved. There may also be state ethics violations that might be involved here — state officials making a profit from their political appointments by referring patients to a facility to which they have financial ties.

    These are issues of administrative law, and something physicians could — with some effort, read the law themselves and write a complaint. I realize it can be costly to defend yourself if your malpractice policy does not carry a clause they pays for administrative actions, or your insurance carrier assigns you a crappy attorney.

    You may also be able to get help from a law librarian in your area if there is a public law library in your locale. Most counties have public law libraries, although it is not well known.

    You may also be able to hire a law student to help you do research. That’s a bargain. You can hire most law students for around $15/hr, and given the legal market is so bad, you may also be able to hire contract health attorneys who could help you with the legal research and writing for not that much money. Check LinkedIn to find firms that hire contract attorneys (free lancers).

    Then there is the self-help legal publisher, Nolo Press.

    And Dr. Google does know a lot, as much as s/he is derogated. You would be surprised how much s/he can also teach you about law. Sorry if I’ve missed some details relevant to each of these stories of woe. As said by Sartre: “Hell is other people.” Without question, here, “hell is other physicians.” Based on my study of the subject, is seems to have its roots in the physical and psychological abuse of physicians by other (future) physicians that starts in medical school, continues through residency and even through independent licensure and practice; coupled with the caste system of doctor – patient, with patient in the pariah status. Add to that toxic administrators.

    On the subject of the physician-patient caste system, I’ve seen physicians go through all sorts of contortions trying to treat themselves, or avoid physician visits because they did not want to be considered a “patient. ” Because in medicine we are too often taught that a patient is “less than,” a degraded status. Once you fall through the cracks, and in some doctors’ eyes become to them “A PATIENT,” you became ripe for all kinds of abuse. Yes they may treat other doctors like crap, but I’ll but you they generally treat patients (and their staff) even worse. Just my guess.

    I may be interested in hearing more of these stories. What I’ve provided here is not legal advice per se, nor am I licensed to provide legal advice. What I’ve outlined are some of the basic contours of administrative law, and general self-help measures that can be researched online.

    A friend who is a journalist suggested to me I write a book on the abuse of psychiatry in contemporary America. I have two case studies, and puzzled where I might find more. Perhaps this area is another to add — physician health programs. Am also hearing more stories of parents labeled as Munchausen-by-proxy and expressions of fear by mothers afraid of clashing with pediatricians. Any ideas appreciated — anything you see, experience. I am a Yale-trained psychiatrist, also trained as a forensic psychiatrist. Write to me at with a subject heading in caps “ABUSE OF PSYCHIATRY.” No spam.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Clarification: I did not mean to imply that the gay physician charged with sex addiction HAS a sex addiction or is “disabled.” The paragraph refers to earlier discussions about physicians with ETOH problems — with the question arising as to whether alcoholism, or any substance abuse problem, is considered a “disability” under the expanded definition of disability in amendments to the statute, and thus whether any of the applicable ADA law applied.


  6. Have you identified the applicable law? I’m told it helps to have an issues-oriented entity, like a non-profit, help make the introduction—assuming there is applicable law. If you simply call and get connected to the screening paralegal of the day — they will blow you off. Your description does not state WHY the parties were rejected. It could be there was no jurisdiction, or it could be just an unwillingness to help. Hard to say much of any use here. Also, many of these offices want to devote resources to what will have the largest positive impact, so arguments for assistance should be as broad and substantive as possible. Again, hard to say much about your strategy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is far more than this- state AGOs have agreed to provide complete deference to state medical boards and their physician health experts. There is no oversight, regulation or accountability and It is a systemic issue.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. […] of careers, families and even lives.   I have heard from doctors targeted due to age , religion, sexual preference , nationality, political stance and appearance.  Referred to the  state PHP with an anonymous […]


  8. I’m new to this site. This extra-judicial violation of due process seems totally insane. Why would major medical associations be ok with this?????

    Are you guys aware of the Physicians Organizing Committee in San Francisco? I may have the name slightly wrong but they are an advocacy group. At the very least they would be interested in this.

    You can’t treat people this way under our laws.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They get around the law by medical colorization. It is bewildering that the AMA and state medical societies are turning a blind eye to all of this (as Jesse Cavenar mentions in his response to the BMJ article and most doctors do not want to get involved for fear of being targeted. State medical societies no longer represent doctors or patients but special interest groups. The ASAM is simply a lobbying group for the drug and alcohol assessment, testing and treatment industry. I estimate that greater than 80% of doctors ensnared by these programs do not meet the diagnostic criteria for substance use disorder or any other psychiatric diagnoses but by using medical colorization you can get rid of a competitor, a whistleblower or someone you don’t like because of bias, bigotry or prejudice. The stories I hear are heartbreaking.


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