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What is the Diversion Program?
To better protect the consumers of the State of California, the Diversion Program's purpose is to identify and seek means to rehabilitate physician assistants whose competency is impaired due to abuse of drugs and/or alcohol. The Diversion Program is designed so that impaired physician assistants can be counseled, guided to appropriate treatment, and returned to practice in a manner, which will not endanger public health or safety. Services provided include:
- SB 1441 Substance Abuse Uniform Standards
- Confidential consultation with professionals in the field of chemical dependency
- Intervention services
- Assessment and referral for treatment
- Development of a rehabilitation plan
- Monitoring participation and compliance
- Encouragement and support
Why this Service?
An alcohol or drug problem left untreated may cause the physician assistant to risk his or her health or life and the safety of patients. The Diversion Program provides hope, help, and alternatives to physician assistants experiencing such problems.
There are Places to Turn for Help.
Physician Assistants are not immune from the disease of chemical dependency. In fact, there may be an even greater risk of such problems among medical professionals due to the availability and accessibility of drugs in the workplace and the work-related stresses to which most physician assistants are exposed.
Not recognizing or dealing with chemical dependency problems can make them more serious and difficult to solve. Often, the impaired individual is too close to the problem to be objective and his or her individual efforts only result in more stresses, increasing the severity of the situation.
The first step in dealing with a chemical dependency problem is for the individual to admit that he or she has a problem. Having trouble handling problems isn't an easy thing to admit to another person. Unfortunately, professionals often buy into the myth that, as professionals, they should be able to handle their chemical dependency problems alone.
What is a tremendous burden to one person can become a lighter load when shared with someone trained to counsel and help others with chemical dependency.
Who Provides the Service?
The State of California Physician Assistant Board has contracted with MAXIMUS, Inc. to provide confidential intervention, assessment, referral, and monitoring services.
Founded in 1975, MAXIMUS with the single mission of "Helping Government Serve the People™", MAXIMUS has served thousands of local, state, and federal government clients.
Who is Eligible?
This program accepts referrals on a voluntary basis. Any State of California licensed physician assistant who is residing in the state and experiencing an alcohol and/or drug problem can voluntarily seek assistance by contacting the MAXIMUS 24-hour toll-free number: (800) 522-9198. The Board may also order a physician assistant to enroll and participate in the program in addition to other disciplinary conditions.
What Happens Next?
Once a licensee contacts the program, arrangements are made for the individual to meet with a licensed professional who will conduct an evaluation and develop a treatment plan. Physician assistants who successfully complete the program are assured that their problem and its nature will remain confidential. However, confidentiality will not be maintained if the participant poses a threat to themselves or the health and safety of the public, or if the participant is terminated from the program for noncompliance or for failure to derive benefit.
Referral to the Program.
Persons wanting to obtain information, arrange an intervention, or apply to the Diversion Program may contact MAXIMUS at (800) 522-9198.
Family, friends, employers, and colleagues are also encouraged to contact the program for information and assistance. MAXIMUS can provide consultative assistance to any concerned party in developing a strategy or techniques for confronting and positively motivating a physician assistant, whom they perceive as troubled or impaired, to seek assistance. If you have questions regarding the relationship of the program to the Board, confidentiality issues and the benefits of participation in the program, the Physician Assistant Board's Diversion Program Coordinator may be contacted at (916) 561-8783
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