President's Message: P. Bradley Hall, MD, Fall 2016

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

I attended my first Federation Annual Meeting in 2006 and never before had I been so openly and warmly welcomed by a group with such experience, expertise, and passion toward the work they do. I was new in developing a physician health program (PHP) in West Virginia. Over the next two years I was the recipient of incredible guidance of many “lions in the field” of physician health, the FSPHP guidelines and many other state PHP documents which were openly shared without expectation beyond the simple goal of developing the West Virginia Medical Professionals Health Program (WVMPHP) as an independent not-for-profit 501(c)3. In 2007, Senate Bill 573 was passed, allowing for the existence of a PHP and the successful incorporation of the WVMPHP. With hesitancy and great trepidation (and no regrets), I became the founding medical director and we were up and running, taking in our first participant November of that year. My experience in the development of the WVMPHP with you all is the epitome of “I can’t, but we can,” and for that, I thank you.

Without the FSPHP and its membership, there would have been no trail to follow. West Virginia did not have to reinvent the wheel but learned from others who had gone before and were so graciously willing to share their knowledge and experience. I cannot fathom the numerical dollar value of the FSPHP membership to West Virginia. Since that time, the value has only increased. I would be willing to pay $5,000 per year to maintain West Virginia’s membership and my access to this esteemed group. Today, I find myself writing my first “Message from the President,” wondering how I got here. Well, I had a lot of help from YOU! I now want to give back to the organization and its members which gave so freely to me.

In the last ten years, I’ve never had greater fortune to work with such talented and dedicated friends and colleagues. The hard work of leadership, committee chairs, and volunteers is contagious to the betterment of our organization and the professionals we serve. This collective represented by the “we” puts the “I” of West Virginia in its proper perspective as part of the organization I have grown to love and respect.

During my presidency, my hope is to continue building upon the success of those who have brought the FSPHP to where it is today. I hope to further our organizational infrastructure stability to best serve our membership. I hope to work to continue to change the culture of society and the house of medicine to evolve PHPs with positive messaging through increased education of the benefits of the good work we do. On a parallel track we will continue to develop and strengthen our current relationships with national organizations such as the American Medical Association, the Federation of State Medical Boards, the American Board of Medical Specialties, and the American Psychological Association toward increased communication and resulting collaborations, while also fostering new relationships with more organizations who benefit from the work of PHPs such as the American Osteopathic Association, the American Hospital Association, and the National Organization of Alternative Programs.

As part of furthering our organizational transition to complete independence, this will include continuing the strategic goals established during the presidency of Doris Gundersen, MD. With the help of the FSPHP membership and leadership, full-time Executive Director Linda Bresnahan, and the administrative support of Julie Robarge, I believe our goals can continue to move forward. These goals are worthy of our continued commitment.

The first goal is to increase funding. The FSPHP board of directors formed a funding work group committed to increasing our organization’s revenue significantly over a two-year period. The group’s plans include the following:

• Developing a Funding Development Committee to design a case for FSPHP financial support

• Identifying and soliciting donors, including associations, foundations, and organizations invested in the health of physicians and healthcare professionals

• Increasing sponsorship and grant opportunities

Secondly, the board formed an Accountability, Consistency and Excellence (ACE) work group to improve accountability, consistency, and excellence by developing and implementing an FSPHP-endorsed review process. This comes following the successful development of sound guidelines for performance enhancement reviews (PER) of PHPs. It is the FSPHP’s goal to provide a tool to measure the quality of each respective PHP’s work and create an opportunity for improvement where and when needed. The work groups objectives include the following:

• Developing member-endorsed PER guidelines for PHPs

• Securing funding and identifying of a partner to develop an FSPHP-endorsed PER process

• Developing and piloting an FSPHP-endorsed PER program

• Updating FSPHP guidelines via the ACE Committee

• Developing a review process for identifying a range of evaluation and treatment options for the safety-sensitive professional

The third major goal involves the newly formed Education, Communication, and Research in Physician Health work group, which is looking to increase education about the value of PHPs via media relations, communication strategies, and research by October 2018. Over time, through our successful networking efforts, educational presentations at national meetings, and growing research, FSPHP has gained credibility and respect for our expertise in physician health. As a public organization, we must develop media relations and continue to expand our representation of the good work of PHPs at the state and national level. Research supporting our efforts along with education will be invaluable. This goal includes the following:

• Offering media training to FSPHP members

• Developing a library of physician health education presentations

• Developing a speakers’ bureau

• Partnering with researchers in academic institutions to design and implement PHP studies

• Developing a PHP Leadership Education Program

During my tenure as president, I hope to facilitate the FSPHP’s ability to fulfill its mission “to support physician health programs in improving the health of medical professionals, thereby contributing to quality patient care.” As president, the most gratifying thing I can do is focus on the FSPHP organizational maturation and associated goals in hopes of leaving it improved, financially and strategically, during my limited time of service. To do so I will continue to need your help with the power of “WE.” I am so blessed to be a part of this organization! Your president, colleague, and friend, P. Bradley Hall, MD ■