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Client-Focused Results

Why a Health Professional Recovery Program participant needs legal support

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2024 | HEALTH & HEALTH CARE LAW - Health & Health Care Law |

Health professionals may suffer from undue stress because of their grueling workload. This could lead to substance abuse or mental health disorders that will make them impaired in their medical practice.

The Health Professional Recovery Program (HPRP) of Michigan seeks to help such health professionals so that they won’t commit medical malpractice. The confidential program treats, cares for and monitors participants as they aim to bounce back and practice again.

Legal advice for signing agreements

As confidentiality is at the core of HPRP, proper legal advice will help when it comes to agreeing to the terms of the program. An attorney can guide you throughout the stages of the HPRP journey:

  • Referral process: If you did not self-refer, you need to confirm if a licensed health professional, health licensing board or the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (DLRA) did the referral. The HPRP should not accept confidential or anonymous referrals.
  • Evaluation: The referred practitioner needs to undergo evaluation for the HPRP to know their condition and determine if they’re eligible to join the program. Evaluators must be qualified professionals.
  • Safety agreement phase: Before the completion of the monitoring agreement, the HPRP may offer a safety agreement. The temporary contract requires a participant to abstain from substances and submit to random drug tests. The contract’s validity should not exceed 60 days.
  • Treatments and monitoring: The participant and HPRP will enter into a monitoring agreement that lasts from one to three years. The contract should give details on the treatments, random drug tests, therapies, reporting schedules, medical supervision and limits on their medical practice.
  • Completion and release: Once the participant completes the monitoring agreement, the HPRP must commit to destroy their records after five years unless readmission happens.

There’s also a need to check the exceptions to confidentiality. The HPRP will inform the DLRA whenever participants don’t comply or become threats to public health or safety. If a board disciplinary order requires a practitioner to join the HPRP, the order becomes public but the participant’s personal information must remain private unless reversed by a court order.

The road to recovery

Although health professionals should always be ready to provide care and treatment, they shouldn’t feel inadequate when they become patients who need to get well from impairments. Your healing journey may be tough, but getting legal help before signing anything may ensure a smooth road towards recovery.