Resolution Regarding Mandatory Psychological Fitness for Duty Evaluation (PFFDE) and Treatment for Physicians Facing Allegations of Workplace Impairment

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Whereas the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons supports responsible review of physician performance in the workplace in the interest of protecting the safety and quality of patient care;

Whereas the practice of making professional credentials contingent upon compliance with orders for mental health evaluation and treatment is coercive to physicians facing allegations of impairment;

Whereas both procedural and substantive due process are often lacking in the process of ordering physicians to submit to PFFDEs and other forms of mental health screening, assessment and treatment;

Whereas coercive practices in ordering and conducting PFFDEs pose grave risks of harm to subject physicians;

Whereas allegations of impairment can be used as a form of retaliation or a way to resolve workplace disputes by putting one party at a disadvantage, and careers are often ruined as a result, and

Whereas in recognition of the fact that the overuse and misuse of mandatory mental health screening and treatment for physicians is a growing problem nationwide, be it therefore

Resolved that the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons:

  1. condemns the abuse and misuse of psychiatry in the process of physician psychological fitness for duty evaluation (PFFDE) and treatment;
  2. declares that abuse and misuse of psychiatry occur in physician PFFDE when referrals or orders for evaluation, treatment, or monitoring are made to support illegitimate organizational, social, or political objectives;
  3. declares that abuse and misuse of psychiatry also occur in physician PFFDE when the evaluee is denied full due process and/or is wrongfully harmed by the limitation of due process by denial of knowledge of or timely access to available administrative and legal remedies in referral, evaluation, treatment, or monitoring;
  4. declares that all physicians who participate in physician PFFDE should strive to expose corrupt, incompetent, or unethical conduct in referring entities and practitioners in the field, and
  5. declares that all physicians who participate in physician PFFDE should strive to mitigate any harms to physician-patients that result from the medical regulatory, disciplinary, or coerced rehabilitative process.