As a confidential monitoring program created by the Iowa Board of Medicine, the Iowa Physician Health Program (IPHP) was designed to protect the public by supporting and monitoring services for physicians whose health conditions may impact their ability to practice medicine safely. The IPHP promotes early intervention, diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring for physicians with potential impairments caused by a mental health condition, substance use disorder or physical condition.
The IPHP recognizes there is a stigma associated with certain conditions such as substance use and mental health disorders that can make it difficult for individuals to seek appropriate evaluation and treatment. Confidential monitoring increases the likelihood that physicians will seek help before their condition impairs their ability to practice medicine.
Our mission is to support physicians by providing confidential, compassionate assistance and monitoring to physicians faced with mental, physical, substance use disorders that could impact their ability to practice medicine safely.
Confidentiality and Our Program
A physician’s participation in the IPHP is confidential to the public. The public does not have access to the information that identifies participants in the program. Participant information is also confidential to the Iowa Board of Medicine, except in limited situations where communication is necessary. According to Iowa Administrative Code 653-14.9, the following situations authorize the IPHP to provide information to the board or appropriate board staff:
- A participant’s medical practice poses a significant risk to the public.
- The participant is not compliant with their IPHP contract and is referred by the IPHP to the Board.
- The participant is under investigation by the Board and knowing if the participant is compliant with their participation would be beneficial to the investigative process.
Physicians who suspect they are at risk of being unable to practice medicine with reasonable skill and safety due to impairment have the right (and obligation) to ask for help when they need it. By failing to do so, they put both themselves and their patients at risk. By self-reporting, the physician may avoid possible investigation by the Board if a complaint is made to the board by a colleague, patient, hospital administrator, concerned family member, etc. It is a safe bet that by the time a physician is ready to address their condition, others are also concerned about their wellbeing.
When you self-report, you are proactively seeking help before your condition negatively affects your ability to practice medicine safely.