As home to some of the countries top ranked hospitals and most prestigious medical schools Massachusetts is an international healthcare hub with world-class teaching, research, and clinical care. Two of the top three psychiatric hospitals in the United States as rated by U.S. News and World Report are found here in Massachusetts with McLean Hospital earning the top prize and Massachusetts General Hospital ranked number three. However, this medical mecca of learning and research is apparently unable to attract anyone with the competence and skill to assess a physician for addiction or substance abuse.
In Massachusetts if the State PHP, PHS,inc. feels a physician is in need of an assessment the evaluation must be done at “a facility experienced in the assessment and treatment of health care professionals.” No exceptions. And apparently these esoteric skills are only found in Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama, Kansas, and a half dozen other far-away places.
With over 20 years experience with the Massachusetts PHP, Physicians Health Services, inc., Harvard Medical Schools Dr.’s John Knight and J. Wesley Boyd wrote an article in the Journal of Addiction Medicine last year concerning ethical issues in state PHPs.
One of the issues they discussed was the conflicts of interest between the state PHPs and the evaluation centers. One comment I was surprised got past editorial review was that the treatment centers may “consciously or otherwise” tailor diagnosis and recommendations to the PHP’s impression of that physician. “consciously” tailoring a diagnosis is fraud. It is political abuse of psychiatry. It is unethical. It is, in fact, a crime.
If you cross-reference the medical directors of the “PHP-preferred facilities” with the list of LMD’s it is a perfect match.
Therefore when the PHP refers a physician for an evaluation and gives them a choice of an assessment facility there is no choice. It is three card monte. A shell game. Heads I win tails you lose.
— R.P. Murphy in Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Published in the March 17, 2014 newsletter Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Weekly, an article entitled “Physician group urges focus on spiritual and psychosocial” describes a group of doctors who “emphasize that for all addictions, the psychosocial and spiritual interventions, including 12-step interventions must be included in the treatment process and,” according to founding board member Dr. Ken Thompson, M.D., “to not do so falls short of practicing good addiction medicine.”
With a “significant percentage” in 12-step recovery themselves, “they have formed a group called “Like-Minded Docs,which has more than 150 physicians, many of whom are medical directors of top treatment programs and also members of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).” Dr. Thompson is in fact the Medical Director of Caron treatment center in Pennsylvania. The group…
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