How to Avoid Scams in “Disruptive Physician” Referrals

Now that hospitals and healthcare organizations are moving to implement the Joint Commissions Policy on “disruptive physician” behavior, unscrupulous providers are suddenly claiming expertise in providing: anger management for physicians, coaching for angry physicians, psychotherapy for disruptive physicians and even inpatient treatment for physician rageaholics.

Consider the following strategies to avoid being victimized by fraudulent “disruptive physician” provider:

1.    Contact the two University Medical School providers and ask for their recommendations if they are unable to accommodate you or your referral. These two providers are The PACE Program at the University of San Diego, School of Medicine and The Vanderbilt University School of Medicine’s Distressed Physician Program. Both of these programs are non-profit and therefore not motivated by volume.

2.    Contact the American Medical Association as well as you state and or medical association for a local or reputable on-site provider.

3.    Request a referral from your Hospital’s Physician Well-Being Committee.

4.    Conduct your own Internet Search and follow-up by asking for a list of client Health Care Organizations for which the potential provider has offered Pre and Post Assessments and Coaching for “disruptive physicians”.

5.    Make certain that you are not the first client of any provider.

6.    On-line services should be seen as a red flag for any provider. Only live services in small groups or individually are acceptable for intervention for disruptive behavior.

7.    Beware of drug abuse or psychiatric treatment for disruptive behavior. Disruptive behavior is neither an addition nor a pathological condition. Therefore, no one should risk his or her professional career by seeking such radical intervention for problem behavior.

Intervention for disruptive behavior can and should be a positive experience for all involved. All legitimate programs begin with a non-psychiatric assessment followed by a structured intervention designed to teach skills in anger management, stress management, communication, emotional intelligence as well as leadership, social awareness and relationship management.

George Anderson, MSW, BCD, CAMF


  1. Very intriguing post. I just stumbled upon your blog and am interested, as it seems to be in tune with something I’ve been thinking about for some time now–being on the other side of the fence. I was wondering if you could shed some light on how to become a “disruptive physician provider.” More broadly, I’m interested in coaching/consulting with doctors focusing on a variety of issues, (“teach skills in anger management, stress management, communication, emotional intelligence as well as leadership, social awareness and relationship management,” to name a few.) Any insight on how one would break into that field? Any specific educational/training programs, beyond general coaching certification (which I’m currently pursuing)? Who normally provides this service in the medical community?

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