For Physicians

The IPHP serves first and foremost as a resource for physicians to address potential impairment before it becomes a problem in their daily work. If you're struggling with your mental health, substance use, or a physical condition, the IPHP can help you find the support you need.  This may include an assessment or evaluation, or connecting you with treatment providers in your area who have experience treating healthcare professionals.

Confidential Self-Reporting

We understand how difficult it can be to reach out for help, and that you may have concerns about your privacy.  The IPHP is a confidential program, and your involvement will not be shared with anyone outside your treatment team. 

Contact our staff to discuss your situation and determine how the IPHP may be able to assist you.

Referrals to the Iowa Physician Health Program

The Iowa Administrative Code 653, Chapter 23 identifies areas in which a physician can be disciplined, one of which is being unable to practice medicine with reasonable skill and safety as a result of mental or physical impairment or substance abuse. The Iowa Board of Medicine recognizes physicians are only human and are not immune to health issues or personal struggles. The Board encourages physicians to self-report to the IPHP before their ability to practice medicine safely is compromised. As a physician seeking help, you deserve the same care and respect you show your patients each day.

Concerns for which we receive referrals/self-reports include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Being under the influence of mood-altering substances while in the workplace;
  • Excessive use of mood-altering substances outside the workplace that may affect a professional’s ability to practice with skill and safety;
  • Untreated mood disorders;
  • Disruptive behaviors in the workplace, such as verbal or physical abuse towards staff or patients;
  • Substance-related arrests, such as OWI.

What Happens After I Self-Report?

Warning Signs of Potential Impairment

Changes in a physician’s personal life

  • Marital problems
  • Isolating self from family, friends and coworkers
  • Difficulty maintaining relationships
  • Withdrawing from recreational activities
  • Withdrawing from community activities
  • Alcohol-related arrests 

Changes in a physician’s health

  • Deterioration in personal hygiene
  • Marked weight loss
  • Slurred speech
  • Unsteady gait
  • Frequent use of sick leave for minor illnesses with vague symptoms 

Changes in a physician’s behavior at work

  • Late to work, leaving early
  • Arriving at work early, staying late, skipping breaks and lunch
  • Aggressive behavior toward staff
  • Mood swings, erratic behavior
  • Falling asleep at the office
  • Isolating from coworkers
  • Failing to spend enough time with patients
  • Decrease in quality of work performance
  • Falling behind with charting
  • Missing appointments 
  • Unexplained absences
  • Failing to do rounds on weekends
  • Too ill to come to phone when on call
  • Unresponsive when on call
  • High absenteeism, especially following days off
  • Calling in at the last minute to extend time off
  • Failing to meet deadlines or schedules
  • Increase in complaints from staff
  • Not carrying share of workload
  • Increase in complaints from patients and family
  • Alcohol on breath 
  • Self-prescribing or prescribing to family members
  • Drug-seeking behaviors; excessive ordering of drug samples
  • Elaborate excuses for behavior that change with retelling
  • Numerous job changes over a short period

Ready to Get Help?

Fill Out Our Self-Report Form