The current Kentucky Physicians Health Foundation – Impaired Physicians Program originated in 1976 when the Kentucky Medical Association instituted the Impaired Physicians Committee.
The original Committee performed on a volunteer basis. Its mission, which remains so today, was to act as an advocate for the physician who needs help.
With the gradual change in the composition of the Committee, it began to be an effective tool in the early 1980’s in assisting physicians who predominantly had alcohol or drug problems. As the Committee’s credibility grew in focus and performance, we were asked for input by the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure and other agencies such as hospitals and insurance companies. However, there was no consistent relationship established with these agencies or groups at that time.
By the late 1980’s it became apparent that our responsibilities and effectiveness were increasing exponentially. In addition to chemical dependency problems, we extended the process to encompass all components of disability (i.e. mental and emotional problems, physical problems, personality disorders and admitted sexual improprieties). We began to feel that in order to function effectively we would need a full-time Director with appropriate ancillary staff and a mechanism for computerized records to offer a more structured program.
In full discussions with the governing bodies of the Kentucky Medical Association and the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure, it was decided that we would establish through the legislative process a funding mechanism and the necessary statutes to govern our Mission Statement of physician advocacy and assistance. To enhance the attractiveness of contributions from other sources, a Foundation was established. Concurrent with this implementation, license application and re-application fees were increased by a designated amount to fund this program along with private funding that could be procured through our own efforts. Currently, we enjoy a 501(c)(3) free standing Foundation status, and we have Kentucky statute protection and Federal Regulations for confidentiality of all records.
We are officially listed as a designated consultant to the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure and are currently advocating in all areas where physician advocacy is indicated and required. We are not a component of the KBML or the KMA.
The Kentucky Physicians Health Foundation -Impaired Physicians Program and its predecessor, the KMA Impaired Physicians Committee, have been involved in the advocacy and monitoring process of approximately 1100 physicians.
We are currently monitoring 125 to 160 physicians annually and averaging approximately 40 new cases per year. Approximately 35 physicians complete our five year advocacy program per year. We process approximately 20 to 30 contacts a month and this involves intricate evaluations and recommendations.