Physician Well-Being Committees are seeking legitimate programs with proven track records to refer mandated and voluntary physician clients in need of assessments and intervention for “disruptive behavior”. The three oldest and best known programs for “disruptive physicians” are the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Distressed Physician Program, the PACE Program at the University of California School of Medicine in San Diego, and the Anderson & Anderson Executive Coaching/Anger Management for Physicians™, based in Los Angeles.
In order to facilitate the physician clients’ enrollment into a program for assistance, it is important for the Well-Being Committee to clearly understand how the program works and be able to explain the process in a positive, helpful manner. Highly trained professionals are hypersensitive to being mandated to participate in any intervention, which implies impairment, psychopathology or some type of personality disorder. Therefore, empathy and sensitivity must be used, as well as an ability to explain in detail what will take place, once the physician client has begun the intervention process.
The following are a sample of the types of questions that are posed by physicians who are being referred for assistance:
- Will this entire process be confidential?
- Will I be seen individually or in a group?
- Will I have to undergo a psychiatric exam?
- Will have to take a battery of psychological tests?
- What type of assessment will I receive?
- Will I have to undergo a chemical dependence evaluation?
- Will I receive counseling, psychotherapy or psychiatric treatment?
- Does the coaching, classes or intervention include a 360-degree follow-up component?
- What is the length of the program?
- Is aftercare included or required?
- Is there any flexibility in scheduling this assessment and intervention?
- Can these services be offered on-site?
- What is the cost of the program?
In view of the fact that the incidence of injury resulting from violent acts is more than twice the incidence for health care workers, compared to other workers, it no surprise that the Health Care Industry is anxious to address these issues (Bureau of Labor 2005). It is also encouraging to see the reception on the part of physicians to this new requirement.
George Anderson, MSW, BCD, CAMF, CEAP
Diplomate, American Association of Anger Management Providers
Anderson & Anderson®, The Trusted Name in Anger Management