Ala. Admin. Code r. 540-X-13-.05 - Policy Guidelines

Current through Register Vol. 40, No. 6, March 31, 2022

It is the purpose and intent of the Board that the Alabama Physician Health Program be a confidential nonpunitive alternative to disciplinary sanction for impaired physicians who voluntarily seek medical intervention, evaluation, treatment, counseling or rehabilitation for their impairment. To that end, the Board hereby adopts the following policy guidelines to be used by the Alabama Physician Wellness Committee in implementing the Alabama Physician Health Program:

(1) A physician voluntarily seeking the assistance of the committee for treatment of an impairment who successfully completes the recommended course of treatment and therapy and who continues to abide by the terms and conditions of the committee's after-care agreements for the period of time specified and thereafter continues to practice medicine with reasonable skill and safety and free from impairment will not be reported by the committee to the Board for violation of Code of Ala. 1975, § 34-24-360(19) . However, a physician participating in programs of treatment and/or rehabilitation and after-care must always truthfully answer all inquiries concerning such treatment made by employers, state or federal licensing and/or regulatory agencies, hospital medical staff credentialing bodies, courts, medical malpractice insurance carriers, and medical specialty Boards. The Physician Wellness Committee will serve as an advocate on behalf of and lend support to physicians participating in programs sponsored or recommended by the committee before such agencies and organizations. A report by a licensed physician to the Physician Wellness Committee that such physician has reason to believe that any other licensed physician is impaired, shall be deemed to be a report to the Board of Medical Examiners for the purpose of the mandatory reporting requirements of Code of Ala. 1975, § 34-24-361(b).
(2) Should the Board as a result of an investigation determine that there is cause to believe that a physician may be impaired, the Board may administratively report that fact to the committee with a request or Board Order that the individual be evaluated to determine whether an impairment exists. The Board will make available to the committee such information as is necessary to accomplish an intervention and evaluation. The committee will report its findings and recommendations to the Board and provide follow-up reports upon request.
(3) The committee must report to the Board the name of any physician the committee has reason to believe may be impaired and
(a) who has failed or refused to follow the recommendations of the committee for evaluation, treatment and/or rehabilitation, or
(b) who has discontinued such evaluation, treatment or rehabilitation against medical advice, or
(c) who has failed to abide by the terms and conditions of an after-care agreement with the committee, or
(d) whose continuation in practice, in the opinion of the committee, constitutes a threat to the safety of his or her patients or to the public.
(4) In any report to the Board of Medical Examiners made pursuant to the requirements of this rule, the committee or its authorized designee may forward to the board any and all reports, evaluations, treatment records, medical records, documents or information relevant to the physician or osteopath upon whom the report is made, unless specifically prohibited by federal law or regulation, notwithstanding any law or regulation of this state declaring that such evaluations, information, treatment records, medical records documents or reports are confidential or privileged. All such information, evaluations, documents, reports, treatment records or medical records received by the board in a report submitted pursuant to this subsection shall be privileged and confidential and shall not be public records nor available for court subpoena or for discovery proceedings but may be used by the board in the course of its investigations and may be introduced as evidence in administrative hearings conducted by the board or by the Medical Licensure Commission.
(5) In the case of a physician who is placed under disciplinary sanction by an order of the Board of Medical Examiners or the Medical Licensure Commission or as a result of a voluntary or involuntary restriction on his or her Certificate of Qualification or license to practice medicine which requires that the physician enter into and comply with an after-care agreement with the committee, then the committee must report to the Board or to the commission, as appropriate, any violation or deviation by the physician of the terms and conditions of his or her after-care agreement.

Notes

Ala. Admin. Code r. 540-X-13-.05
Filed December 22, 1988. Amended: Filed June 18, 1992. Amended: Filed October 19, 2000; effective November 23, 2000. Amended: Filed August 22, 2002; effective September 26, 2002. Amended by Alabama Administrative Monthly Volume XXXV, Issue No. 07, April 28, 2017, eff. 6/2/2017.

Author: Alabama Board of Medical Examiners

Statutory Authority: Code of Ala. 1975, §§ 34-24-400 through 406.

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