Recovery Related Racket: Physician Health Programs (PHPs) do not represent the interests of doctors or the public but the interests of the drug and alcohol testing, assessment and treatment industry.

Disrupted Physician

There is enormous inertia—a tyranny of the status quo—in private and especially governmental arrangements. Only a crisis—actual or perceived—produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable.-Milton Friedman

images-18“It is easier to believe a lie one has heard a hundred times than a truth one has never heard before.” –Robert S. Lynd


1980s–Your Money or Your Medical License

Ridgeview Institute was a drug and alcohol treatment program for “impaired physicians” in Georgia created by G. Douglas Talbott, a former cardiologist who lost control of his drinking and recovered through the 12-steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Up until his death on October 18, 2014 at the age of 90, Talbott owned and directed a number of treatment facilities for impaired…

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2 thoughts on “Recovery Related Racket: Physician Health Programs (PHPs) do not represent the interests of doctors or the public but the interests of the drug and alcohol testing, assessment and treatment industry.

  1. There was a rather lengthy exchange on a site critical of NC recently regarding the State Auditors directive to initiate an appeals process within the NCPHP and whether or not this was accomplished (obviously, there is sstill a lot of progress to be made)
    ;
    NCPHP Advocacy/Appeals Committee:
    The following is an email communication with the spouse of a wounded healer in NC who knew that the NCPHP is an animal to be feared. The NC Office of the State Auditor recommended an appeals process to be put in place. This is the response of the NCPHP to questions regarding the NCOSA recommendation. The discourse has been put into chronological order starting with the initial Email.

    Clearly, the NCPHP has not been very forthcoming about their appeals committee, if it even exists. Finally, in desperation Dr. Pendergast answered some of the questions in his typically evasive style.

    From: Wounded Healers NC Spouse
    Sent: Wednesday, September 02, 2015 3:31 PM
    To: Joe Jordan
    Subject: Advocacy

    Dear Dr. Joseph Jordan

    I would like information about the NCPHP appellate process recommended by the NCOSA.
    Specifically what is its purpose? How is it engaged? Who may engage it? Who is on this appellate committee?
    How often does this Committee meet? How any cases has it heard to date?
    What type of issues does deal with?
    Who does this committee answer to?

    Thank You
    Wounded Healers NC Spouse

    From: Joe Jordan
    To: Wounded Healers NC Spouse
    Sent: Wed, Sep 2, 2015 3:42 pm
    Subject: RE: Advocacy
    Ms. Wounded Healers NC Spouse
    Please let us know who you are and the reason for your request, prior to our responding.
    Are you someone seeking NCPHP services or are you inquiring on behalf of someone or another entity?
    We await your response.
    Thank you,

    Joseph P. Jordan, PhD
    Executive Director
    North Carolina Physicians Health Program and North Carolina Veterinary Health Program
    220 Horizon Dr., Suite 201
    Raleigh, NC 27615-4928
    Ph: 919-870-4480 Fax: 919-870-4484 Cell: 919-616-5282
    Toll free: 800-783-6792
    http://www.ncphp.org
    http://www.ncvhp.org
    “Improving the health and wellness of medical professionals with compassion, support, accountability, and advocacy.”
    You may only reproduce or distribute this e-mail (and any attachments) if you are expressly authorized by the North Carolina Physicians Health Program in writing to do so.These materials are confidential peer review documents under NC General Statutes including 90-21.22, and are privileged. If you are not the intended recipient, any use of this email and attachments is unauthorized. If you have received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender and immediately delete this e-mail and any copies from your system.

    From: Wounded Healers NC Spouse
    To: JJordan
    Sent: Wed, Sep 2, 2015 5:34 pm
    Subject: Re: Advocacy
    Dr. Jordan;
    My name is Wounded Healers NC Spouse. I am the spouse of a non working licensee whom has been through the system.
    He did everything he was supposed to do. Followed all of the requirements and was never able to return to work.
    My spouse heard of this through another physician who knew that the PHP of NC had gone through an audit and
    Beth Woods the auditor had made recommendations to the state for changes with the PHP.
    I found the audit on line. It is general public information.
    Is this not information that anyone would be allowed to inquire about? Is there some reason it is hush hush?

    Ms Wounded Healers NC Spouse

    From: Wounded Healers NC Spouse]
    Sent: Sunday, September 13, 2015 10:51 AM
    To: Joe Jordan ;
    Subject: Fwd: Advocacy
    Cc:
    Office of the Inspector General of the USA
    NC State Auditor Beth Woods,,

    Below is a note I sent to Dr. Joseph Jordan Executive Director of the NCPHP There is a running email below of back and forth responses. I will forward to you both any additional responses.
    Thank You
    Ms Wounded Healers NC Spouse

    “Dr. Joseph Jordan;
    Today is September 13th and I have waited on a reply since the 2nd of September. I have not heard a word in response. Maybe it is time for my spouse to request his file and send in a complaint to your Counseling Licensing Boards. Then send a copy of it to the State Auditor and the NC Medical Society.
    I am once again requesting the information I originally requested about the new appellate process, the NCPHP appellate process recommended by the NCOSA:
    1. How is it engaged?
    2. Who may engage it?
    3. Who is on this appellate committee?
    4. How often does this Committee meet?
    5. How any cases has it heard to date?
    6. What type of issues does it deal with?
    7. Who does this committee answer to?”
    I am sending this also to the Office of the Inspector General of the USA and to Beth Woods our state Auditor.
    They will see your only reply below.

    Thank You
    Ms Wounded Healers NC Spouse

    From: Warren Pendergast
    To: Wounded Healers NC Spouse
    Cc: beth_Wood ; oig
    Sent: Mon, Sep 14, 2015 12:19 pm
    Subject: RE: Advocacy
    Ms. Wounded Healers NC Spouse,

    Dr. Jordan has forwarded me your emails; in response to your questions:

    · The Review Committee is an independent committee, appointed by and responsible to, the NCPHP Board of directors. The committee is comprised of individuals who do not serve on the Board of Directors, nor on other committees or in other capacities with NCPHP.

    · The Review Committee functions as an independent body for review of NCPHP findings and recommendations following standard review of staff findings and recommendations by the NCPHP Compliance Committee.

    · The Committee convenes upon request for a review by an NCPHP participant or evaluee, and can consider the following questions:

    o General nature of diagnosis (e.g. presence or absence of a substance use disorder)
    o Need for additional assessment beyond NCPHP
    o Need for treatment
    o Need for monitoring by NCPHP
    o Closure of file/loss of NCPHP advocacy

    If your husband would like to formally request a review, either one of you can let us know, and we will begin the process with a letter to him outlining the procedure in more detail.

    Per NCPHP policy, evaluees or participants receive their NCPHP records as part of this review process, but may also request and receive a copy of their records independent of the review process.

    Sincerely,
    ____________________________________________________________________

    Warren Pendergast MD
    CEO, North Carolina Physicians Health Program
    Past President, Federation of State Physician Health Programs
    919-870-4480
    penderw@ncphp.org

    These materials are confidential documents under NC General Statutes including 90-21.22, and are privileged. If you have received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender and immediately delete this e-mail and any copies from your system.

    From: Wounded Healers NC Spouse
    Sent: Tuesday, September 15, 2015 4:52 PM
    To: Warren Pendergast ; Joe Jordan ; oig@dc.gov; beth_wood@ncauditor.net
    Subject: Re: Advocacy

    Mr. Michael E Horowitz US Office of the Inspector General
    Ms Beth Wood NC Office of the State Auditor

    I am copying Ms. Wood & Mr. Horowitz on this e-mail because I am trying to get some answers and I feel at this point I am being given the run around.
    If you could assist me in getting some basic information to my questions below I would be ever so grateful. Ms. Wood did a performance audit that was published April of 2014 on the NC PHP and her audit found several deficiencies. The NC PHP was to have a separate appellate program added to the NC PHP that when someone felt they fell through the cracks they could go to this new committee for a review of what happened. I have attempted to get a response and have only received a mission statement. I feel I am entitled to some basic information that any one in the general public would ask. If I could get your help I would be most grateful.

    Thank You
    Ms. Wounded Healers NC Spouse

    Cc:
    Dr. Jordan Clinical Director of the NC PHP
    Dr. Pendergast CEO of the NC PHP

    Note by Wounded Healers NC Spouse after being told that Dr. Jordan was “out for the day” on 9/15/15 the day this communiqué’ was sent.
    The PHP office was called yesterday and Dr. Jordan was in. Choose to decline to speak to Jordan after making the inquiry.
    I have still not had my questions answered. I have received a mission statement, none of which answered any of my questions.
    I am once again requesting the exact information I originally requested about the new appellate program. Plus a few new questions.
    My questions are about the NC PHP appellate process recommended by the NCOSA. I have left space after each question to keep it simple.

    How is it engaged?
    Who may engage it?
    Who exactly sits on this appellate committee?
    How long is there term?
    What are their qualifications?
    What are their names and what is their association with the PHP, Medical Society or the Medical Board.?
    How were they chosen to be on the committee?
    How often does this Committee meet and when do they meet?
    How was the committee formed and by whom and why?
    How any cases has it heard to date?
    What type of issues per case did each case deal with?
    Did these medical providers actually return to work at their jobs as Medical Providers after seeking your new advocacy group?
    If yes how many and if not how many and why not?
    Who provides oversight of this new committee?
    What are their names of the people on the oversight committee?

    Dr. Jordan you frequently state to your contractees the need to be “rigorously honest in every detail of your life in all of your affairs”.
    My husband has been 100% honest he even did your polygraphs that you demanded and proved to you that he was being honest.
    Why is it so hard to get an honest and straight answer to my questions?
    These are just basic questions any one with intelligence would ask.
    They should be listed on your web site.
    I am not being rude.
    I am just asking for information that should be available to the public.

    Thank You
    Ms. Wounded Healers NC Spouse

    From: Warren Pendergast
    To: Wounded Healers NC Spouse
    Cc: Joe Jordan ; oig ; beth_wood
    Sent: Wed, Sep 16, 2015 12:39 pm
    Subject: RE: Advocacy
    Dear Ms. Wounded Healers NC Spouse, we are certainly not trying to give you the run around.

    We’d be happy to speak with you or your husband on the phone, or in person, with the goal of helping your husband to return to practice if possible.

    Please just call the office and make an appointment.

    Thank you,
    Warren Pendergast
    ____________________________________________________________________

    Warren Pendergast MD
    CEO, North Carolina Physicians Health Program
    Past President, Federation of State Physician Health Programs
    919-870-4480
    penderw@ncphp.org

    These materials are confidential documents under NC General Statutes including 90-21.22, and are privileged. If you have received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender and immediately delete this e-mail and any copies from your system.

    From: NC NC Spouse
    To: penderw
    Cc: JJordan ; oig ; beth_wood
    Sent: Wed, Sep 16, 2015 3:37 pm
    Subject: Re: Advocacy
    Dr Pendergast

    He will not call until he has these questions answered.

    Ms Wounded Healers NC Spouse

    From: Wounded Healers NC Spouse
    Sent: Thursday, September 17, 2015 7:40 PM
    To: beth_wood@ncauditor.net; Joe Jordan ; Warren Pendergast
    Subject: Re: Advocacy
    To all concerned.
    I do not understand why it is so difficult for you to answer our questions.
    I give up on your answering the questions we asked. I am sending this email to the morning news station doing a report on the corruption of the PHP’s in the USA.
    They will enjoy the letter. Maybe they can come knock on your door to see why you havenever answered my questions.

    Ms Wounded Healers NC Spouse.

    From: Wounded Healers NC Spouse]
    Sent: Monday, October 05, 2015 10:45 AM
    To: Warren Pendergast ; Joe Jordan
    Subject: Re: Advocacy

    Good Morning Dr Pendergast and Dr. Jordan
    I have waited a couple of weeks for your reply. As of today I have not received anything from either one of you.
    I just wanted you to know that as of tonight I will be posting this running email on Kevin MD, Mediscape and several others. I have already forwarded it to the journalist whom did the morning news report on PHP’s.
    I will give you till 2 pm today to respond.
    As I have stated my spouse does not feel save to call either of you without these questions answered by the both of you.

    Ms Wounded Healers NC Spouse

    From: Warren Pendergast
    To: Wounded Healers NC Spouse
    Cc: oig ; beth_wood ; Joe Jordan
    Sent: Fri, Sep 18, 2015 3:54 pm
    Subject: RE: Advocacy
    Ms. Wounded Healers NC Spouse

    We are in receipt of your latest email, and will respond further; we do remain available to speak with you and your husband by phone and/or in person.

    Thank you,
    ____________________________________________________________________

    Warren Pendergast MD
    CEO, North Carolina Physicians Health Program
    Past President, Federation of State Physician Health Programs
    919-870-4480
    penderw@ncphp.org

    These materials are confidential documents under NC General Statutes including 90-21.22, and are privileged. If you have received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender and immediately delete this e-mail and any copies from your system.

    From: Warren Pendergast
    To: Wounded Healers NC Spouse
    Cc: Joe Jordan ; beth_wood ; oig
    Sent: Mon, Oct 5, 2015 1:54 pm
    Subject: RE: Advocacy

    Ms. Wounded Healers NC Spouse,

    Please be apprised of the responses to your questions as noted below. We are fully prepared to discuss the entire review process with you and/or your spouse in person, and will make every effort to be helpful in doing so. However, we do not feel that further email exchanges are appropriate at this time.

    I have copied and pasted your questions below about the review process available to NCPHP referrals or participants. If these answers are not sufficient, please make an appointment to speak with NCPHP staff directly at NCPHP offices, and we will make time to sit down with you and address your concerns. If your husband has reason for concern about a particular NCPHP staff person, we will make every effort to schedule him with another individual for this conversation.

    · How is it engaged? The review process may be engaged upon request by a participant or evaluee who wants review of an NCPHP recommendation.

    · Who may engage it? The process is available to current or pending NCPHP participants or evaluees.

    · Who exactly sits on this appellate committee? The membership of the Review Committee varies according to each case, based on availability and any conflicts of interest leading to recusal. The person requesting the review is made aware of the specific membership of their review committee during the review process.

    · How long is there term? Three years with one a maximum of one re-appointment.

    · What are their qualifications? Currently on the Review Committee, there is an addiction psychiatrist, a retired addiction medicine physician, a retired substance abuse professional, and a physician assistant experienced in professional health, addiction medicine and psychiatry.

    · What are their names and what is their association with the PHP, Medical Society or the Medical Board? The review committee is independent from the NCPHP Board of Directors, the Medical Society, or the Medical Board and does not serve on any of these boards. The names of review committee members for each case varies and those names are given to the person requesting review during the review process. To protect the confidentiality of this review process for NCPHP participants and to ensure that review committee members are not contacted prior to the review process by any person, the identity of the review committee membership is not disclosed until the review process is underway. This protects the review process from any undue contact or harassment.

    · How were they chosen to be on the committee? The NCPHP Board of Directors reviews candidates and selects the members. The Board of Directors will continue to identify and select appropriately trained and experienced persons to serve on the review committee.

    · How often does this Committee meet and when do they meet? The Committee meets only as needed to undertake a review.

    · How was the committee formed and by whom and why? See above. The committee was formed to offer additional due process beyond our already existing procedures.

    · How any cases has it heard to date? One to date, we are unable to discuss any specifics of this review.

    · What type of issues per case did each case deal with? See above.

    · Did these medical providers actually return to work at their jobs as Medical Providers after seeking your new advocacy group? See above; NCPHP’s mission is in part to return practitioners safely to work.

    · If yes how many and if not how many and why not? See above.

    · Who provides oversight of this new committee? The NCPHP Board of Directors.

    · What are their names of the people on the oversight committee? The NCPHP Board of Directors.

    ____________________________________________________________________

    Warren Pendergast MD
    CEO, North Carolina Physicians Health Program
    Past President, Federation of State Physician Health Programs
    919-870-4480
    penderw@ncphp.org

    These materials are confidential documents under NC General Statutes including 90-21.22, and are privileged. If you have received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender and immediately delete this e-mail and any copies from your system.

    From; Wounded Healers NC Spouse
    Good Evening,
    Wounded Healers NC Spouse waited patiently for Warren Pendergast and Joe Jordan to reply. The answers are just vague at best.
    I don;t think they liked her questions. She gave them an ultimatum this morning. I went onto Medscape and the ASAM reply to the PHP topic is officially closed for conversation.

    Blessing
    Wounded Healers NC Spouse

    Liked by 1 person

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