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Study shows success in treating impaired physicians

Physician Practice Advisor, February 28, 2007

Physicians with mental and behavioral health problems have a rehabilitation rate similar to that found for substance abuse disorders, achieving 74%-75% success. Further, physicians with these disorders can safely be monitored while continuing to practice medicine, according to a study by five members of the Physician Health Services Research Committee, a program of the Massachusetts Medical Society.

Researchers followed and examined data about physicians in Massachusetts with both substance abuse and mental and behavioral disorders during a 10-year period. "The most significant result of this research is that it demonstrates that we can achieve a high rate of success in maintaining physicians with mental and behavioral issues in the practice of medicine, or helping them return, with similar strategies that are well-proven for substance abuse problems," said lead author John R. Knight, MD, chair of the Physician Health Services Research Committee, in a press release from the Massachusetts Medical Society.

Other key findings of the study include:

Click here to read the study.