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Friday, September 11 • 1:30pm - 2:15pm
The Impaired Practitioner: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach From Investigation To Resolution

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Topic Overview: Substance abuse, and ultimately impairment while at work, is a significant problem for healthcare employers. Many institutions have implemented pre-employment and/or random drug testing programs in an effort to combat this problem. Unfortunately, even the most stringent testing programs don’t seem to be able to completely eliminate the problem of an employee coming to work impaired or becoming impaired while at work. This is especially concerning when a clinician is impaired and providing care to patients. Massachusetts General Hospital, a 900+ bed acute care hospital, has taken a multi-disciplinary approach to deciphering impairment versus poor practice, investigating potential diversions and determining the best course of action once a conclusion has been made. The role of the occupational health professional is paramount to this process. Occupational Health needs to be involved with the development of hospital policy, the selection of the drug testing method and panel development, and potentially development of a return to work and monitoring plan. This includes reporting to and working with the clinicians licensing board.


  1. Discuss tools available to decipher poor practice from impairment.
  2. List at least three methods of substance abuse testing.
  3. Review the legal requirements for reporting impairment and/or diversion of medication.
  4. Identify three components of a successful return to work plan for a rehabilitated clinician.
  5. Describe the value of Occupational Health as part of the team.

avatar for Al Rielly, MD, MPH

Al Rielly, MD, MPH

Clinical Instructor, Harvard Medical School
 Al Rielly, MD, MPH, is a Clinical Instructor at Harvard Medical School. He is Board Certified in Preventive Medicine: General Preventive Medicine and Public Health; Occupational Medicine; and Internal Medicine. Dr. Rielly is the Medical Director of Occupational Health at Massachusetts... Read More →

Friday September 11, 2015 1:30pm - 2:15pm PDT
Pacific Concourse L&M

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