New Virginia Law Provides Safety for Physicians Seeking Mental Health Support

Posted on April 15, 2020 by Mitchell Best, CEO

Updated May 11, 2020

MSV logo A bill championed by the Medical Society of Virginia, supporting physicians and providers in need due to stress and burnout, was signed into law by Governor Ralph Northam on April 10, 2020. This is a tremendous development in long battle to support physicians who are struggling with stress and burnout.

What does the new law mean?

Under the law, if a physician or provider were to seek support for burnout, career fatigue or mental health reasons, they would not need to be reported to the Department of Health Professions to have their medical license reviewed.

This is a major win for physicians and the state of Virginia health systems. The legislation will remove a significant barrier for physicians who often do not seek the help they need for fear of their medical license being revoked. A brief summary of the legislation is as follows:

“….Expands civil immunity for issues related to career fatigue and wellness in health care professionals licensed to practice medicine or osteopathic medicine or licensed as a physician assistant. In addition, a health care professional who is a participant in a supportive professional program to address these issues is not required to be reported to the Department of Health Professions unless it is determined they are not competent to continue in practice or are a danger to themselves or their patients.”

How does VITAL WorkLife fit into this?

In the new law, VITAL WorkLife’s Physician Well Being Resources solution is considered a professional program a physician or provider could access without reporting to the Department of Health Professions. Physicians can now go outside of their employers to seek the necessary support needed without feeling the stigma from colleagues or the fear of losing their license.

I applaud the state of Virginia for taking this big step to change how physicians are treated so they can get the support they desperately need without professional repercussions.


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