Florida May Allow Doctors to Avoid Divulging Past Mental-Health Conditions and Drug Issues on License Applications
Tuesday, January 29, 2019
By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
Doctors ask patients about their medical histories every day for in treating them. But what happens when physicians are requested to divulge their own past medical history to the state as part of the licensing process? Before being licensed in the state of Florida, for example, health care providers are required to disclose if they have been treated for mental-health or substance-abuse disorders within in the past five years. However, this could be changing very soon. Changes to Health Questions. In December 2018, a committee of the Florida Board of Medicine gave preliminary approval to eliminate questions about past treatment of mental health and substance abuse from applications for medical licenses in Florida. Rather, applicants would be asked only whether they currently have any condition that impairs them from safely practicing. Medical history questions are asked during the initial application for license, whether the applicant is a new physician or a physician from another state who is seeking a Florida license. This is true for most states. The new questions are designed to be more open-ended and lend themselves to subjective answers.The proposal to change the initial application questions comes after several studies revealed an alarming suicide rate among physicians and medical students. According to a 2015 study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, between 300 and 400 physicians commit suicide each year. Despite these numbers, the proposal still requires full board approval and faces opposition from some board members. Click here to read one of my prior blogs about rising baker acts among college students in Florida.
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Sources:Sexton, Christine. “Florida doctors may avoid revealing past mental-health and drug-abuse issues.” Orlando Sentinel. (January 16, 2019). Web. “Change Seeks To Remove ‘Stigma’ For Doctors.” Health News Florida. (January 16, 2019). Web. About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.
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