Physicians' Recovery Network | Practicing DPMs | APMA
Physicians' Recovery Network

The Physicians' Recovery Network (PRN) is a service sponsored by APMA that provides peer consultation for any podiatric physician and/or member of the podiatric medical family who has personal problems related to alcohol or mental health issues and/or physical impairments. The PRN provides assistance in the form of supplying information about outside support services. The program utilizes a colleague-to-colleague approach to encourage self-recognition of the problem(s) followed by pursuit of individual assistance available from trained professionals.This webpage provides information about the PRN and answers to frequently asked questions.

To reach the PRN, call the toll-free helpline at 800-488-4767. All communications with the PRN are kept in strict confidence.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: PRN does not provide professional counseling, therapy, or treatment. If you need immediate assistance, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255), call 911, or go to the nearest emergency room.

Resource Update: The State Physician Health Program Resources is a one-stop document for podiatrists to look up recovery resources in their state.

About the PRN

 


PRN has been established by APMA for the sole purpose of identifying available resources for impaired podiatric physicians and/or members of the podiatric medical family. PRN counselors are volunteer podiatric medical students, podiatric medical assistants, and podiatric physicians of all experience levels. These volunteer counselors are not licensed professional counselors and they have not received formal counseling education. Your consultation with a PRN counselor should not be treated as a substitute for formal, in-person diagnosis or treatment from a qualified medical or mental health professional.

PRN offers a number of referrals for you to consider as sources of additional information, support, or professional help. These sources are generally not affiliated with PRN and/or APMA. Accordingly, we make no representations about such sources and do not endorse or accept any responsibility for the services or information provided by such third parties.

Communications with a PRN volunteer are intended to be private, and we strive to maintain the confidentiality of such communications.

Frequently Asked Questions About the PRN

What are the services?

The PRN program enables a caller to discuss, in confidence, his or her circumstances to help identify problems to explore the availability of resources that may aid in recovery. Callers access the program on a voluntary basis. One of the fundamental messages of the PRN is Hope. This message is delivered by the PRN member discussing his or her own experiences, if applicable, and/or the strength and hope he or she has achieved either through his or her own recovery or working with those in recovery.

Who is covered by the program?

All podiatric physicians impaired through substance abuse and/or physical or mental conditions and members of the podiatric medical family who are related to an individual impaired through substance abuse and/or physical or mental conditions may access this service.

What is the fee for this service?

While information is provided at no fee, donations or contributions are accepted. Donations are put back into the functioning of the program. 

Are conversations confidential?

Confidentiality is the cornerstone of this program. All contacts and information shared are privileged and private. Podiatric physicians or members of the podiatric medical family who contact the service need not leave their name, but if they do, they can be assured that no records are kept of these conversations, and the members of the PRN place confidentiality and anonymity as the most important elements in the service. The members of PRN strictly adhere to rules of confidentiality. However, communications are not generally deemed privileged for purposes of legal proceedings. 

Who comprises PRN?

The PRN is a voluntary network of members of the podiatric medical community, appointed by the president of the APMA who are committed to helping colleagues. Members of the PRN are podiatric medical students, podiatric medical assistants, and podiatric physicians in all age brackets. 

How does the PRN work?

When a podiatric physician and/or member of the podiatric medical family has questions or requires help for someone who may be in trouble, the process is initiated through a call to the 800-number telephone helpline. All calls will be returned if the caller leaves a phone number. The program may provide the following information:

  • Resources, assistance referrals, and general information concerning the problem and its treatment
  • Encouragement to seek professional help
  • Follow-up support into recovery
  • Education and leadership about impairment among podiatric physicians and the professional community

How does one reach the PRN?

The telephone helpline number is 800-488-4767. The call will be answered if a PRN member is present at the time of the call. If a PRN member is not present at the time of the call, it will be returned as soon as possible. Assistance from the Physicians' Recovery Network begins with contact through the telephone helpline. Anyone can use the number to reach the PRN. The PRN member accepting the call will know the identity of the caller only if the caller wishes to be identified. Each person calling the helpline will be asked to give a name and call-back number, but even if unwilling to provide that information, the caller will be asked to state the general nature of the problem. No records are kept.

What is the referral process?

Referral to the PRN may come from self-referral, family member, office staff, colleague, student, state board, college, or hospital. Once contact has been made, a member of the PRN is assigned to continue to be the contact person for the person.

The initial communication may consider the following:

  • Name of individual
  • Work and home phone number for contact purposes
  • Nature of the problem
  • Legal issues, if any. For example, if the caller is concerned about impending legal action (i.e., state board, DEA, or others), it is clearly stated that PRN can not intercede or ameliorate any legal actions. It is strongly encouraged that an attorney be consulted.
  • Contributing factors
  • Development of an action plan
  • Communication with a member of the PRN

What follows the initial communication?

After the initial communication, the podiatric physician and/or member of the podiatric medical family is often urged to seek help locally.

Website resources include:
 
National Institutes of Health: For anyone who drinks, this site offers valuable, research-based information. What do you think about taking a look at your drinking habits and how they may affect your health? Rethinking Drinking may help.

International Doctors in Alcoholics Anonymous: International Doctors in Alcoholics Anonymous (IDAA) is a fellowship of doctors and their families whose primary purpose is to support one another in recovery from alcoholism and other drug addictions.

IDAA provides support and encouragement through:

  • the study and application of the steps and traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous;
  • the annual IDAA meeting; and
  • education and ongoing network development within the tradition of anonymity.

IDAA understands that specific issues do arise for health-care professionals and impaired doctors. 



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