What Can I Expect If I Report to the Health Professionals Services Program (HPSP)?
By Melissa Heinlein, Esq.
When I am contacted by a licensed professional who is having issues with their employer or their board surrounding mental health or chemical dependency, the Health Professionals Services Program (HPSP) will always come up in our first conversation.
The Health Professionals Services Program was put in place over two decades ago to protect Minnesota citizens by providing confidential monitoring for health care workers who have found themselves impaired by their respective illness.
Health care professionals are grappling with addiction and mental health hardships right alongside the rest of society. As a lawyer for nurses, LPN's, therapists, and other members of the health care professions, I have worked with many people over the years who have struggled with these issues, and who have benefited from the ability to report to HPSP in lieu of potential board discipline.
According to HPSP, their program serves six main functions, which are the following:
1. To protect the health and safety of Minnesota citizens
2. To identify health professionals with illnesses that are potentially impairing
3. To provide an incentive for health care workers to get help before patient safety is compromised
4. To make sure health professionals get appropriate care for themselves
5. To monitor how the recovering practitioner is managing their illness
6. To educate the health professions about potentially impairing illness
There are some things to be aware of before you report to the Health Professionals Services Program. You must keep in mind that, like your licensing board, HPSP exists and was put in place to protect the general public first and foremost. When you sign a participation agreement with them, it is often for at least two years. If you violate that agreement, you will be reported to your licensing board. We therefore strongly recommend contacting an experienced HPSP lawyer before contacting HPSP itself, so you can thoroughly review your options.
At the end of the day, your board wants you to be healthy, and they want you to be at your best when you are caring for your patients. If that means that you need to take some time away from work, scale back your hours, or make a lifestyle change, there are options available to help you through the process. This may or may not involve monitoring by HPSP. Before you make any final decisions, contact a Minnesota license defense lawyer. At Lord + Heinlein, we are your powerful legal voice.