What to do when the professional receives a “Letter of Concern”.

Routinely, criminal contact (from public intoxication, a DUI, to a drug diversion allegation or sleeping in the work place) comes to the attention of every professional’s licensing board and the PHMP.  This triggers a “Letter of Concern”. This is a letter sent to the unsuspecting licensee, commencing with the sentence; “It has come to our attention that you may be suffering from a drug or alcohol impairment that affects you ability to practice your profession. We are concerned.” This letter is from the PHMP and suggests participating in an evaluation to protect your professional license in a confidential manner without disciplinary action.  DON’T FALL FOR IT.

At this point of the many, two reactions are typical.  NO WAY.  I’m not going.  These licensees hit the internet, research, find my blogs and call me.  Good plan. You may skip to the end of this blog. For those who are on the fence, keep reading.

The second reaction is that many think the evaluation will help. These inexperienced licensees, but to no one’s surprise, attend the evaluation, thinking he or she will pass “with flying colors”. This thought process is a mistake and wrong. Unbeknownst to these professionals, the evaluation is conducted by untrained, non-medically based treatment evaluators. These social workers or counsels work at these facilities, get paid for conducting these evaluation and routinely diagnose people to need PHMP monitoring and treatment at their facility. These licensees forget that the PHMP referred them to the treatment facility who has a financial interest in finding a treatable condition for which it would be capable of providing care.

For the professional that freaks out but is on the fence about attending, researching what are PHP, PHMP, & PNAP will lead them to my blogs and this possible blog.  After reading you will realize the evaluation is merely a fishing expedition. The evaluator is fishing for anything upon which they can hang their diagnosis of a drug or alcohol abuse, use, or dependence disorder for which treatment and/or monitoring is required. My prior blogs review what documents these evaluators seek, medical records they wish to review, and medial authorizations they try to get signed.

These evaluators only know of you what you the professional tells them. There is no prior basis for professional monitoring. While telling the truth is important, you have no obligation to attend a PHMP suggested evaluation stemming from a “letter of concern.” There is no Board order. Your professional license is not under investigation and no discipline has been handed down compelling attendance or treatment. My question then, is, why go?

This voluntary participation is the problem. Attending these evaluations and being completely cooperative provides the PHMP, your Board, and the untrained social worker evaluator information of which all three are unaware, don’t know and do not have a right to know.

Cathartic as it may feel to unburden and talk to this PHMP evaluator, most of the time it will lead to significantly more legal problems. Disclosing information and authorizing the evaluator’s entity to obtain confidential, non-work related medical records opens the professional up to a much deeper evaluation than the “letter of concern” originally suggested or even what the professional anticipated in attending the evaluation.

Many professionals receive proper medical care and take prescribed medications for short or long term diagnosed medical or mental health conditions. Many evaluators know nothing about the complexity of medical care, treatment regimens, prescription medication protocols, or dosages. These are medical decisions for which only licensed doctors can interpret and address. Telling drug social workers at a treatment facility about the prescription medications only leads to their stereotyping you into some medical condition requiring monitoring or further evaluations. This just deepens the fishing expedition.

When you read your “Letter of Concern” do not freak out. Call me to discuss your options. DO NOT SCHEDULE OR ATTEND THE EVALUATION.

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